Revisiting the Co-op Price Myth


Revisiting the Co-op Price Myth

In the April 2012 edition of On the Table, we wrote about how well our Grocery and Bulk pricing compares to our corporate competition.  The results of 90 random product comparisons from 2 years ago were conclusive: our pricing was way better!

So where do we stand now?  Not only are we just “competitive”; in most categories we come out on top!  And keep in mind we are not including the increased savings to our members from financial benefits like Case Lot sales, case pricing, Wellness Week, the ‘Over $300 Shop’ benefit and the Patronage Return.

cheesey island1-webLike Cheese?

Try these numbers out: On 10 randomly selected cheeses our pricing was 23.6% lower.  We were lower or the same price on every item.  …And how could I not mention our selection, which our members often tell us is the best in the Kootenay’s.

ErinJane in Wellness-webHow about Health and Wellness Products?

Our regular pricing on 25 randomly selected items was 6.2% less.  …And how could I not mention that our specials pricing is deeper and our specials more numerous, including our now legendary Wellness Week specials.

Grocery items?

63 items were an average of 5.4% less expensive!

Yoshi in Produce-webProduce?

Taking into account sale pricing at both stores we come out on top here too.  …And how can we not mention way more Local, Okanagan and Certified Fair Trade Produce and our legendary selection and quality.  Because produce pricing fluctuates on a daily basis, it is challenging to have an ‘apples to apples’ comparison on any given day. That said, on this day, our regular pricing was slightly higher and our sale pricing on produce was slightly lower than our competitor’s pricing overall.

Bulk Aisle1-webBulk?

If there is another store in Canada with comparable pricing and selection (over 200 items!) let us know.  We feel confident we are number one in bulk!  Our bulk pricing was 55.8% less expensive on 23 random identical items. If you purchased 1kg each of these 32 items at the Co-op you would spend $250.70 versus $390.70 at the other store.  Wow!  Bulk foods are healthy and environmentally friendly.  We will always support them with the best prices possible.

The Kootenay Co-op pledge:

We work hard to bring our members the best possible pricing.
We support local vendors with lower margins on their products compared with non-local products
We are clear and honest with our pricing. We do not  price with a few extremely low-priced “loss leaders”. Loss leaders give consumers the false impression of storewide lower pricing, when in fact profits are recouped through higher regular pricing on other products.


The Effects of a lower Canadian Dollar

Due to the recent drop in the Canadian dollar we’ve seen recent significant price increases from all of our suppliers importing products into Canada and we’ve been warned that this trend is expected to continue.  We will do what we can to minimize the impact of these price increases but higher retails are inevitable in all Canadian grocery stores.

Into the Future

We’ve heard feedback from Members about concerns that prices will be higher in our new location.  Let me assure you that this will not be the case.  Attracting new members to the Co-op is what will help us grow and stay competitive with traditional for-profit corporations.  Great pricing is the single most important thing we can do to attract new members – it is in the very foundation of our co-operative roots.


We serve our members and community and strengthen our local food system by providing the highest quality, local, sustainable, and organic products at reasonable prices, in a welcoming environment, with exemplary customer service.