East of England Co-op celebrates 150 years of co-operation

On Saturday 3 March, the largest independent retailer in our region, the East of England Co-op, will be celebrating their 150th birthday.

Founded in 1868 to provide good quality, honest food at reasonable prices for the community, today the East of England Co-op has over 230 stores and branches across Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, over 4,000 employees and 288,000 members.

Minnie Moll, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “For 150 years we’ve always been looking at the small things we can do that will make a big difference. We’ve never been afraid to try new things and adapt to change, and our story involves so much more than simply selling food.”

Co-operative Societies gave women equal rights and opportunity, long before Parliament. They enabled women to receive their own dividend and have an equal vote in their co-operative 80 years before they would be granted the parliamentary vote.

In 2018 the East of England Co-op has continued their pioneering work, being the first retailer in the UK to sell food beyond its ‘Best Before’ date in a bid to cut food waste, and leading the way on Dementia Friendly Retail.

The East of England Co-op has partnered with their Sourced Locally producers to create a limited edition range of products. From eggs, flour and jam, to beer, chocolate and sausages, the range also includes tea from Butterworths and Son in Bury St Edmund.

Each box of the tea will also include a limited edition tea card, depicting the Co-operative Women’s Guild from Hadleigh in 1928.

Rob Butterworth said: “To have a product of outstanding quality worthy to represent this landmark anniversary is a proud moment for the family and our team who strive to consistently provide excellence in everything we do.

“The East of England Co-op is important to the region, offering great exposure for local producers and businesses. Their family approach, caring attitude with connections to the local communities they serve in, is something to be celebrated indeed.”

Minnie concluded: “We’ve supported our colleagues and communities through two World Wars and rationing, seen five coronations, a millennium, and the birth of television, computers and the internet. Through all that change we’ve continued to innovate and adapt, and in 2018 we’re proud to still be at the heart of the communities we serve.”

Do you have a memory to share?

To mark the once in a lifetime anniversary, the East of England Co-op would love to hear from members, customers and colleagues who have memories, photos or memorabilia to share of their time with the Co-op, to feature in their celebrations throughout the year.

You can share your memories online at or write to 150 Year Anniversary, East of England Co-op, Wherstead Park, The Street, Wherstead, Ipswich IP9 2BJ

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