A recent quantitative study of the social and economic impacts of food co-ops compared to conventional grocery stores demonstrates the many ways that cooperative businesses like Ashland Food Co-op are different. The study, called Healthy Foods Healthy Communities, found that food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located. Here are some of the study’s findings:
Co-ops Support Local Food Systems
· Food co-ops work with an average of 157 local farmers and local producers. Conventional grocery stores work with 65.
· The average food co-op sources 20 percent of products locally compared to 6 percent at conventional grocers.
Co-ops Impact the Local Economy
· For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy – 1.5 times more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.
· Our co-op with $30 million in annual sales generates $48 million of local economic impact.
· Co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers.
· Co-ops’ recycling practices reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 2,297 metric tons of carbon dioxide, 1,277 more metric tons per year than conventional supermarkets.
When you shop at Ashland Food Co-op you know that much of the money you spend goes right back to our local economy, to employees, vendors, service providers, manufacturers, farmers, and non-profit organizations. That’s what happens when people work together for better food, stronger communities and a healthier world.