Food & Product Buying Policy
for which HWFC was formed are:
- HWFC is committed to providing the
most nutritious food obtainable at the lowest price and to educating
its Members and the community about nutrition and health.
- HWFC shall offer for sale in the
store natural, whole, and pure foods, avoiding whenever practical foods
that contain white sugar or artificial ingredients or foods that are
over-refined and over-processed in ways that destroy nutrients.
Preference shall be given to organically grown food and to food and
other products that are produced in environmentally and socially
- Priority shall be given to
ordering, displaying, and selling food in bulk to protect our
environment from excessive packaging and to conserve natural resources.
- HWFC shall maintain a Food and
Product Manual that contains an explanation of the guidelines used for
foods sold at HWFC and reasons particular foods are not carried.
Decisions are Made
|Overall policies on
food and products to be sold at HWFC are reserved to the Membership,
who are entitled to vote on the bylaws, in membership meetings, and on
referenda. On a day-to-day basis, decisions about selling products in
the store are made by the HWFC store buyers or department managers who
are guided by the values expressed in the documents above. The
following factors play an important part in buyers' decisions:
|Customer Demand: Buyers
attempt to satisfy customer requests that are within HWFC guidelines,
can be provided through our suppliers, and can be accommodated within
the limited space available in the store. Customer requests vary,
reflecting individual needs, family and cultural situations and
personal taste. The definition of dietary need may not always appear
the same to all customers. Individuals may make a request directly to
the staff or by a written request in the suggestion box. Answers to
suggestions are posted on the bulletin board at the front of the store.
HWFC is committed to making every effort to provide to individuals on
limited diets, those products that are not readily available elsewhere.
Examples of such products include: unsweetened, low-salt,
lowfat/nonfat, gluten free, specific allergen free, and vegan. Items
for which there is not enough shelf space may be special ordered if
carried by our suppliers.
|Store Requirements: HWFC has
5,500 to 6,000 sq ft of retail space. We are attempting to convert more
of our warehouse space. In the meantime, shelf space is restricted,
particularly in the area of refrigerated and frozen products. In
planning, we are attempting to balance increased space needs for
Produce, Health and Beauty Aids, Bulk, and our Deli. The main focus of
HWFC is not to make a profit but we need to remain financially stable.
|Natural and Organic Food Producers: Natural
and organic foods are vital to the mission of HWFC; however, we face
challenges in matching our buying practices to that mission. The
natural and organic foods industry is progressively consolidating under
mainstream conglomerates. As this consolidation takes place, producers
alter ingredients and eliminate or add new products without
notification. It is difficult for buyers to adhere to the same
standards in this setting. Although our buyers make regular efforts to
monitor products to ensure compliance with our mission, customers must
be responsible for reading the labels on the products they buy.
|Natural and Organic Food Suppliers: HWFC
now has one major supplier, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), which is
a publicly traded company. Our previous supplier, Northeast Cooperative
Warehouse, was purchased by UNFI in 2002. As a result of this change,
some products are no longer available to us. Department managers and
the Alternative Supply Committee actively seek out local farmers and
producers, regional distributors and other supply lines.
|Cooperative Networks: HWFC
belongs to the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). In
cooperation with other co-ops, we negotiate supply agreements and
participate in the Cooperative Advantage Program (CAP). Sales flyers
are distributed by CAP to provide and advertise monthly sales. Sales
items are determined collectively and not all cooperatives have the
same mission or product lines. Department managers reserve the right to
carry or not carry individual items on this flyer.
Continue to Section 5: What We