above & beyond
We’re committed to selecting products that consider the well-being of our soils, pollinators, animals, farmers + food processors and you. In other words, we do the digging, so you don’t have to.
Kootenay Co-op Buying Guidelines
Whenever possible we prioritize products that meet the following standards:
- Organic (which includes provisions for animal welfare, non-GMO, third-party testing of soil and water, and much more)
- Local to our bioregion (within 160 km of the store)
- Fair Trade
- Sustainably Sourced Seafood
- Cruelty-Free, Humanely Raised
- Free-from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives
- Sourced from companies with ethical business practices
Our Buying Committee
One thing that differentiates our Co-op from other grocery stores is our Buying Committee.
The purpose of this committee is to ensure that we live up to our mission statement of providing the highest quality, local, sustainable and organic products at reasonable prices.
Our Buying Committee meets one to two times a month and reviews our existing product selection, as well as proposed new items. This process ensures we make thoughtful, intentional decisions about every item on our store shelves. Our committee is made up of nine voting members, and a handful of non-voting members. Voting members include the General Manager, Marketing & Sales Manager, and either the Manager or Buyer for each of our six revenue departments (Grocery/Bulk, Produce, Wellness, Cheese, Butcher, and Food Services). Other Co-op staff actively participate in the Buying Committee by providing their expertise on certain products, but they do not vote.
What about products that don’t meet these standards?
In some circumstances, we sell products that do not meet the standards listed above. Sometimes it’s because members love the product. Sometimes the right product is not available from our suppliers or not available at a reasonable price. And sometimes we want to support our local economy or provide products for special diets. In each of these instances, our Buying Committee thoroughly researches ingredients, questions suppliers, seeks out alternative products, and then votes on these products to determine if we should carry them in our store.
How can I shop according to my personal standards at our Co-op?
We are excited to help you make the best possible shopping decisions for you and your family while accommodating the dietary needs of our 11,000+ active members. If you have a question or comment about an existing or proposed product at our Co-op, please speak up! You can chat with our Customer Service team, a staff member on the floor, or visit the contact form on this website, or request a phone call with our General Manager. We are always happy to hear from you!