Publicity materials

Most food co-ops produce their own publicity materials, such as leaflets and posters. It's important to include as much information as you can on any leaflet about how your food co-op runs.

For example if your food co-op supplies pre-filled bags, it is good to say how much these cost, if they have to be pre-ordered, how often they are available (for example weekly or monthly), and the likely bag contents (for example how many different varieties of fruit and veg they contain). You should also say when and where your food co-op runs and a contact phone number or email if possible. You could also include a brief description about your food co-op, why it was set up and anything you'd like to say about the benefits of shopping there.

Tip: When preparing leaflets and posters, if any details such as opening times or phone numbers are likely to change it is best to only print a small number of leaflets at a time, as and when you need them.

Simple black and white leaflets and posters using mainly text can be designed quite easily on a home computer, and reproduced relatively cheaply on a photocopier. Photographs do not reproduce well in black and white or on a photocopier, but if anyone in your food co-op is good at art, simple line drawings can look good in black and white. Fruit and veg images are also available to download from our website.

Leaflets and posters in colour are a lot more expensive to print but can be very attractive and eye-catching. If you have enough money you may want to get your own materials designed. However, printing leaflets is usually far more cost effective when you are having at least 5,000 leaflets done, which may be far too many for your food co-op.

Tip: If you would like to print in colour, you could consider getting some posters printed with a colourful border, with blank space in the middle for you to add black-and-white text, using a photocopier, for different promotions and events over the year.

It is a good idea to ask new customers where they heard about the food co-op, or to offer a discount for new customers who bring a leaflet with them to the co-op. Otherwise, it is hard to tell how effective your leaflets and posters have been, and whether your money was well spent. Research for this toolkit showed some promotional methods are better than others. A number of food co-ops in Somerset, for example, reported that a handful of new customers came along after seeing a poster displayed. However, many food co-ops say that door-to-door or general leafleting is not very effective. So you may want to use leaflets at targeted locations instead. For example, if you run a food co-op at a school or housing association, you could ask them to give leaflets out to every parent or resident. Posters should be also placed in relevant locations where your target audience will see them.

Posters and leaflets can also help create an identity for your project, so it is a good idea to choose a style for your publicity materials that people will come to recognise.

Tip: Create additional publicity by running a competition for local schoolchildren to design your promotional materials. In Somerset, Wellington Food Co-op ran a competition at the local school to design a logo to use on their printed publicity. This involved local people and created a distinctive image for their project.

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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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