Plastic Challenge 2017
July 19, 2017 – 11:17 am | 4 Comments

What is the challenge?
June 2017 was officially the Marine Conservation Society’s  ‘Plastic Challenge’ month.
This is the third year of the challenge, which encourages people to pledge to cut down the amount of single-use plastics they …

Read the full story »

The Suma range of food and household products. Our products are sourced ethically, with the environment in mind.


Delicious vegetarian recipes created in our very own Suma canteen. Healthy meals, and a healthy amount of cakes too.


Environmental issues, sustainable business practices, climate change, recycling, green living and more.


New developments and activities at Suma, press releases, and updates we think you’ll be interested in.


Suma is the uk’s largest workers’ cooperative. We operate equal pay and are democratically run by our members.

Home » Community News

Food buying groups wanted for survey

Submitted by on April 7, 2010 – 11:54 am4 Comments

162Volunteers from Food buying groups wanted to take part in a short survey

I am a user-centred web designer and researcher, conducting research for a new (non-profit) web project aimed at developing online tools and resources to help make the setting up and running of food co-ops (specifically buying groups) much easier.

As an existing food buying group, you’ve probably overcome most of the initial hurdles in terms of getting up and running, but it would be really valuable to hear about your experiences as they will help us design the right tools to hopefully make the barriers to entry for this type of enterprise as low as possible, so more communities will be encouraged to take this step.

Also, there may be certain things you wish you were able to do with technology, to help things run more smoothly, so any requests you have could potentially become part of the project, which you could then use, once we’ve finished developing it.

I’m part of a food buying group myself, and I know what type of problems we had to deal with, and what online and computer tools we’ve found helpful (and not so helpful!), but I’d be really interested to know whether other groups have had similar, or very different experiences.

If you would like to take part and share some of your experiences, please contact me – Mazy – at with your email address and I will email you a short survey. The survey will also ask if you’re happy to be contacted again in the future for any ongoing research, should you be interested, otherwise you would not be contacted for anything further and your details would not be kept or passed on to any 3rd parties.

I look forward to hearing from you, and your help will be very much appreciated!

Mazy Burns

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • Chas Nicholson says:

    I worked at Honeysuckle Wholefood Co-operative Ltd for about thirty years and the first message I would like to send to buying groups is, “Support your local wholefood shop.” I think it is important to keep wholefood shops going. I used to find it very irritating when members of buying groups would come in for 2oz fresh yeast or a pot of yogurt

    Chas as they had bought all their flour in bulk through the group. Even more irritating were those people who bought through a group and when the order was wrong wanted us to send the goods back to Suma.

  • Mazy says:

    Yes, I really think it’s great to have local Wholefood outlets too! However, we don’t have any Wholefood co-operative stores near where I live, and the Wholefood shops are REALLY expensive, making the cost of a weekly shop prohibitive to many people, meaning they go to the cheaper supermarkets instead. I think a balance can be struck with buying certain things in bulk (for us, it’s dry foods) and then going to the Wholefood shops and farmers market for fresh and refrigerated produce and baked / prepared foods. Also, a buying group could potentially evolve into a Wholefood co-op store one day, meaning there could be more – not less – as a result of people embarking on this endeavour, and in places (like where I live), where they are much needed. I don’t know why people were asking you to return goods to Suma tho – I can see how irritating that would be!!

  • Brigid Hayward says:

    I have been running a food buying group for years now, I have noticed that it makes me use the supermarkets much less and buy MORE from the health food shops, not less.

    A. I get used to the quality of the products and want those products more and
    B. after doing food groups buying find that I actaully don’t need to do a big shop anymore so the few things left I need, I will go the health food shop.
    I don’t want to support supermarkets atall, I think they are awful.

    In my experience I find we buy less and eat less, with bulk buying.
    We try to use up what we have in bulk. It really does simplify life and its healthier eating and buyingwhen we do.

    Very few people can afford to do all their shopping in health food shops. We just need to use them more to support them by buying some of our shopping there. Same goes with organic suppliers, they really do need our support and if your’re not doing the big shop anymore and getting organic veggies delivered, you are more likely to buy those extra things from the local health food shop.

    Have to say bringing Suma things back to a health shop bought through a different account is awful…. I hope the shop refused.

  • irene says:

    how do I find out where to buy from Food buying groups, I know some families are short of cash and need help and I would like to help them.I am in halifax.west yorkshire.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.