Local Co-op Shop Idea Wins Case Study Competition for Aberdeen Students

Wednesday, 08 May 2019 Scotland Food & Drink Industry news

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This year’s winners of the SAOS Co-op Case Study competition, run in conjunction with SRUC, are Katie Insch and Kirsten Glen of the Aberdeen campus.


After being given a presentation on the co-op model, the benefits and structure by SAOS, the SRUC students undertaking the Advanced Case Studies module at Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Ayr campuses then complete the course case study. The SAOS Next Generation team then listen to all the presentations before coming to their decision on the winners.


The groups need to work together using the information gathered on co-operatives, and draw up a marketing or purchasing plan for their chosen agri-business, food or business product or service. They must:


  • Include an executive summary of the co-operative marketing proposal.


  • Review the current market for their chosen product; size of market, set up costs, practical issues on running the co-op, feasibility, potential for future development, and how these fit with wider supply and demand for the product.


  • Think strategically, identify the unique selling points and strengths and weaknesses of the business in the medium term (five years), scrutinising these using SWOT and PEST analyses.


  • Prepare a detailed development and marketing plan for the co-op including competitor analysis, and review of the market potential, detailing any requirements that a new co-op must meet.


Katie and Kirsten worked together to produce a business plan for a producers co-operative shop in Alford. Their plan demonstrated a clear need for a co-op of this type in the area, highlighting the vast array of fresh, local, quality products which are grown in Aberdeenshire. They researched population size, household income and employment rates in the early stages of their idea. Their belief is that this type of co-op would allow producers to take a larger percentage of the retail price by taking an active role in the supply chain.  It would also provide an additional outlet for growers’ products, increase sales and promote individual brand awareness.


Anna Robertson, who leads work on the competition as part of SAOS’s Next Generation work, told us: “Through their research and local knowledge, Katie and Kirsten demonstrated that there is clearly an opportunity for a co-op of this type to be successful in the area.  We congratulate Katie and Kirsten on a great report and thank everyone else who took part.”


Katie (left) and Kirsten (right) are pictured with some of the goodies from their prize a hamper filled with produce from SAOS member co-ops: Steaks supplied by ANM; daffodil bulbs from Grampian Growers, SOMP organic milk, Scottish Shellfish mussels; and ESG/Growers Garden broccoli crisps.

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