The People’s Supermarket is a food cooperative whose stated aim is to provide the local community with good cheap food that’s fair to consumers and producers. It was set up by Arthur Potts Dawson, Kate Wickes-Bull, David Barrie and a team of supporters and professional advisors in Lamb’s Conduit Street, Holborn, London, England, near Great Ormond Street Hospital. As of February 2012 it had 1000 members. Based upon the concept of the food co-operative and inspired in part by the Park Slope Food Coop in the Park Slope neighbourhood of Brooklyn in New York City, US, members of the social enterprise are required to pay a £25 annual fee and contribute 4 hours of their time every 4 weeks to working in the store. In return, members receive a 20% discount off their shopping in-store.
“We Care About Our Products. We all want to know where our food comes from, how it’s been produced and what it contains. That’s why all our stock comes from trusted suppliers, who are chosen because of their commitment to our mutual values of high quality, local and environmentally friendly produce.
We believe in the outstanding quality of food produced in this country and do our utmost to buy British produce where possible, in particular from suppliers local to London. We are also committed to providing superior choice and information to all our customers to help them make informed decisions about how you shop, so that no matter what your preferences, there will always be something for you at The People’s Supermarket”.
One of the ambitions of The People’s Supermarket is the reduction of food waste generated by the store and subsequently taken to landfill. Not only does it make good environmental sense to reduce the amount thrown away, it also has sound commercial logic, as less waste equals more profit. The store acquired a complete ex-demonstration domestic kitchen. Included in the donation were appliances, work surfaces, cupboards and some cutlery and crockery.
The kitchen was installed on the sales floor at the rear of the store; with the objective to create healthy, nutritious ready meals for customers buy and eat at home. All the ingredients come from the range sold in the store and where possible from items that have reached their sell-by date or are past their best. From day one, the kitchen has been a huge success. Commercially it has generated additional sales per week, from soups, salads, sandwiches and ready to eat dinners.
The demand for The People’s Kitchen products is so high that we cannot satisfy it and we sell out on a daily basis. – Environmentally on average 100kgs of waste per week are processed through the kitchen. The members are gaining life skills through direct hands on working in the kitchen, including food hygiene training, cookery lessons and teamwork. None of homemade food contains unhealthy preservatives, colorings, or excessive sugar. They currently supply prepared food for external catering events.