New report reveals what Co-op customers loved and left behind when it came to their baskets in 2018

New research looking at what goes into a Co-op customer’s basket has found that people have been swapping out protein, full sugar drinks and pasta for Free From, flowers and gin.

This close look at customer shopping habits has been put together as part of Central England Co-operative’s annual Insight Report.

The data has looked closely at every customer and every item they purchased during 2018 to explain how they shopped, lived and spent during the past 12 months.

The report revealed how sales of Free From were up year on year, with everything from dietary requirements to health needs listed as the reasons why.

While Free From items were being placed in the basket, a selection of others were being taken out reflecting national trends of shoppers looking to eat more healthily.

Dairy sales fell by 2%, in particular yoghurts, as customers increasingly chose dairy-free alternatives. The quick and easy pasta dish also appears to no longer be a winner with a fall in sales of 12% as people opted for alternatives such as courgetti.

Also, while sales of meat remain strong, people are not buying the same amounts as they once were. The traditional favourite – Sunday Roasts – may also be experiencing a fall in popularity as meat joint sales fell on average by 40%.

The Government’s war on sugar has also started to impact on the consumer with full sugar drink sales falling and water sales jumping by four per cent year on year.

Other areas of growth included premium own label brand products as customers become happier to trade up, sales of gin and flowers during season periods such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

One other area of significant change is a drop in the demand for stamps, which fell by 11%, as people continue to focus on email communication and other modes of sending mail.

Marta Foley, Data and Predictive Insights Manager, said: “We are pleased to present the findings from our first ever Central England Co-operative Insight Report.
“These exciting results showcase our customers shopping habits in 2018 and how they shaped the year.

“They perfectly showcase what shoppers loved and what they left behind during the past 12 months.
“It shows a customer that is becoming more health conscious, more adventurous and more willing to spend a little more to get exactly what they want.
“We are proud at Central England Co-operative of being able to take these results and ensure that we meet shoppers demand when they visit their local store.”


Notes to editors


How the Co-op customer’s basket has changed




  • Dairy
  • Pasta
  • Protein
  • Full sugar drinks
  • Stamps



  • Premium own label products
  • Free From
  • Water
  • Flowers
  • Gin


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 


It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.


Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.


Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.


Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to member activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting


For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:


Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390


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