Member-owned supermarket for thrifty Londoners
Though the first food co-op opened in the UK back in 1844, according to Google, such cooperatives have not been a familiar sight in Europe in recent years, despite a certain popularity in the United States. Until now, that is. In fact, with the recent launch of the People’s Supermarket, Londoners recently gained a new place to find affordable food.
Only members can shop at the People’s Supermarket, but they all get a 10 percent discount on prices as well as a say in how the store is run. In exchange, members pay an annual membership fee of GBP 25, and they also pledge to volunteer four hours of their time per month working as store staff. Because the supermarket’s workforce is nearly all volunteers, staff costs are kept low this way — an advantage that can be passed on in lower prices. Any profits that are earned, meanwhile, get put back into the store to bring down prices even further.
Food co-ops are not uncommon in the US, but it’s interesting to see their reemergence in the UK following a bout of unusually tough times. Could this be the beginning of a widespread comeback…? (Related: Sustainable urban campground to be crowd-funded & managed — Crowdfunded breweries.)
Online network helps home cooks sell spare portions
Cooking for one or two has always been a challenge, since most recipes are designed to generate four or more servings. Aiming to help minimize waste while earning home cooks a little extra cash, Super Marmite is a social network that enables cooks with too much food to sell their extra servings.
Now in beta, French Super Marmite — referring to the French word for cooking pot, not the ubiquitous yeast spread — is similar in many ways to BookofCooks, the US-based online marketplace for home-cooked meals. Both provide an alternative to restaurants and fast food and give sellsumers a way to be rewarded for their cooking efforts. Specifically, cooks with a meal planned or in the works simply list them on the Super Marmite site, specifying their location, when the meal will be ready and any per-serving fee they’d like to be paid. The location-based service then makes it easy for hungry consumers to find meals of interest not far from where they live. If interested, they can order some of those meals by signing in through Facebook or a Super Marmite account. Once they’ve sampled a cook’s efforts, buyers can review them on the site. Super Marmite is now free for both cooks and consumers. Apps for iPhone and BlackBerry are reportedly coming soon.
Super Marmite currently focuses on meal preparation in France, but it seems safe to assume the concept could work well in any urban area. One to partner with or emulate near you…?