It's very important to promote your food co-op both when you first set it up and on an on-going basis.

When you start you'll need to attract customers and volunteers and let everyone in the area know what you are doing. However, you'll also need to keep on promoting it. For a variety of reasons, you'll probably lose customers along the way, so to make your food co-op viable you will always need to attract new customers, or try to win back customers who have drifted away.

There are lots of different ways you can promote your food co-op. However, it doesn't matter how much promotion you do - if your food co-op has not been set up in right way to appeal to your target customers then you won't attract enough people. So you need to think about how you will market your food co-op right from the start. This may also affect your decisions about how you run your food co-op. To find out out more about marketing and promotion click on the links in this section.

Another way you can help promote your food co-op is through educational activities. Buying food through a food co-op is a different way of shopping and so for many people the benefits may not be obvious at first, so it is a good idea to try inform people about the ethos of food co-op and what's so good about shopping there. Many people may not know how to prepare or cook all the food you sell, particularly if you supply a lot of local and seasonal produce. So offering cookery demonstrations, seasonal recipes or tasters of unusual produce may help encourage customers to buy a wider range of produce. If you are planning to apply for a grant, providing educational activities alongside running a food co-op may make your project eligible for a wider range of funding opportunities.

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Useful documents:

Fruit and vegetable images that you can use to make your own marketing materials:

Free publicity materials for fruit and veg co-ops
Sustain have free leaflets for food co-ops that have a full colour design on the front but are left blank on the back so you can add your own details. We also have large banners. To order copies e-mail:

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

0203 5596 777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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