From the Blog

The Journey to our Shelf: Local on Top

Linda Fritz-Murphy, New Pi Purchasing Manager October 2 Category: Store News
Local Foods

I was reviewing some sales data recently and it stuck out to me how local items remain on top. It truly demonstrates why local is a high priority on our shelves.

Products made locally are what our members seek, and we continue to recognize the vital importance of the Co-op’s role in the local economy.

As a co-op, we are a manifestation of the community in which we exist.

Our health is intrinsically linked to the health of our local economy.

Purchasing a local product not only helps your neighbor, but it is gentler on the environment, as far less fossil fuels are burned getting the products to our stores, and often less packaging is needed when the commute is short.

These are the reasons we remain committed to featuring awesome local products in all areas of our stores. 

Local is not the only product attribute we hold dear at New Pioneer. As I touched on with local goods, sustainability is an attribute we know our shoppers value and an attribute we want to deliver. 

When reviewing products, we are constantly looking for new packaging innovation.

We know our members want to reduce their plastic use and we try to find products that use alternative packaging, such as milk in glass bottles from Crystal Ball Farms.

We are also pursuing a reusable jar program for some of our prepared and bulk food items.

We value products produced by B corps, who among their goals work toward a mission of sustainability with their business’s practices. Learn more about B Corps.

Another way we seek to impact change through the products we stock on our shelves is by lifting up companies owned by women and people of color.

We are proud of the numerous companies owned and operated by women on our shelves and have continued efforts to expand our products founded by women.

In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement shines light on the clear need for greater social equity and justice in our country and has motivated us to take a hard look at our shelves.

The natural products landscape has traditionally been very white, and the ownership of our product mix is no exception. 

We are determined to improve that and are setting goals to more than double our offerings from companies that are owned by people of color over the course of the next year. 

A few new offerings we've added are Partake allergen-friendly cookies (may I humbly recommend the birthday cake), Me and the Bees Lemonade, and Honey Pot personal care products. 

We remain committed to offering great everyday value products through our Co-op Basics program and Member Rewards program.

Through our rewards program, members earn free product on frequently purchased household staples like milk, bread and ground beef.

In addition, we proudly offer an everyday 10% discount to members who meet our criteria for economic need. 

We give great thought and consideration to our product mix.

We continue to keep our ear to the ground for member feedback and follow sales trends to be sure we’re providing products you like to buy.

Thank you for your support of New Pioneer and the products on our shelves that embody the change we want to see in the world. 

Linda Fritz-Murphy, New Pi Purchasing Manager About the Author

Linda Fritz-Murphy, New Pi Purchasing Manager

As purchasing manager for the co-op, Linda oversees product selection, inventory, pricing and promotion. Linda’s interest in the natural foods industry sparked when she became a mother, reading up on the link between our health and what we put in our bodies. Joining the Co-op team in 2014, Linda took on various rolls at the Coralville store including assistant store lead before moving into her current position in 2016.