One million co-operative strawberries

As a Wimbledon-born boy, I am excited that it is tennis time again and time again for… strawberries.

One million strawberries will be eaten over the course of the two weeks at Wimbledon, all from Kent’s Hugh Lowe Farms, a member of the soft fruit co-operative, KG Growers.

It is busy too across the co-operative sector, as the number of co-ops across the UK has leaped over the last year to over 6,300, with a total turnover of over £37 billion.

Our annual statistical digest of the sector, The Co-operative Economy, is out today, as part of Co-operatives Fortnight. It tells the story too of other member-owned businesses, including how English mustard growers came together as a co-op, to save the provenance of Colman’s English Mustard.

All this at its best is great teamwork, as with the best of the World Cup teams and with the doubles tennis we may see this fortnight.

When we get it right, co-ops can be like a north bound train – focused on member needs, co-operatives have the responsiveness, support and momentum for success. Without that clarity, and faced with the challenge of restoring The Co-operative Bank back to health, The Co-operative Group has indeed faltered.

While co-operatives are not immune to the stresses and strains faced by any business, the data shows that it is still an expanding sector, made up of resilient, ambitious and profitable enterprises.

Strawberries and cream – some things are wonderful when they go together.

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