Co-op has kicked off the new year with major online expansion plans and what it believes to be the biggest launch of vegan products.
The retailer will now offer same-day online deliveries from 650 stores within city and town centres and is launching its new exclusive meat-free brand GRO.
GRO will be available at up to 6,000 Co-op and independent stores from this month, to keep up with the increasing demand for vegetarian and plant-based alternatives as more people turn away from meat, in favour of plant-based products.
According to data from the Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism report, the market has topped £1billion for the first time ever and has more than doubled in the last 20 years. The report noted that vegetarian product sales have risen by more than 12 per cent and non-dairy milk alternatives have seen a 14 per cent increase in 12 months.
Jo Whitfield, CEO of Co-op Food, said: “At Co-op, we make it easier to get products when you need them and we stay close to our customers changing requirements.
“We have to provide fantastic products and services with strong ethics and a purposeful focus on convenience. Our new vegan range taps into the latest consumer trends and our online services meet the growing appetite for fast home deliveries.”
Over the next 12 months, Co-op’s online same-day delivery services will be available across almost 100 towns and cities.
This month, Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton will be among the first new cities to get the service, which is currently only available in London and Manchester.
Co-op will also expand its partnership with Deliveroo, which provides on-demand delivery of convenience grocery essentials in less than 30 minutes. Ordering through Deliveroo will be extended to 400 stores, reaching around 100 major towns and cities.
The GRO vegan range features more than 35 meat-free products and will be stocked in 2,000 Co-op stores and in up to 4,000 independent retailers through Co-op’s wholesale operation, NISA.
The new GRO range has been developed with inspiration from some of Britain’s favourite dishes to create plant-based alternatives, including the classic chilli con carne and sticky toffee pudding.