HumaniTea Field Lighter

Source: Co-op

RTD tea latte brand HumaniTea was one of the six successful applicants from last year’s scheme

The Co-op is on the hunt for the third wave of small food businesses to join its accelerated support scheme, the Apiary.

Applications for the scheme, which gives suppliers the opportunity to work towards a listing on Co-op shelves, can be submitted until 5 February.

Co-op said it was looking for suppliers with “a real point of difference” and “shared values which would promote further diversity and inclusion within the convenience retailer’s range”.

Successful applicants will received tailored support, as well as mentoring and advice on all aspects of the product journey, including industry and consumer insight, technical hints and tips, and access to the convenience retailer’s dedicated buying teams.

It follows the second wave of businesses that joined the Apiary scheme in 2023. These included fairly sourced Ugandan coffee Blue Turaco, vegan ‘superfood’-infused water brand Revibed Drinks, and cloudy vegan beer Local, with the latter now stocked in almost 300 Co-op stores.

Black Milk, Humanitea, and Wilderbee Hot Honey were also picked in last year’s scheme.

“Co-op launched its Apiary programme two years ago to discover, mentor and support innovative new suppliers who share Co-op’s values and further promote diversity and inclusion within our range,” said Rebecca Oliver-Mooney, Co-op head of commercial for drinks, frozen, community buying & the Apiary.

“Now moving into our third year, it is exciting to embark on the journey to find, and work closely with, a new wave of producers. We look forward to hearing from smaller businesses with a real point of difference, those who are values-driven, and who offer something unique to interest, excite and inspire Co-op’s member-owners and customers.”