Sunday, January 29, 2012

Own brand 1970's

Co-operative Label Products (c1970)

The picture is of the 1970's Co-op own brand label.  Very likely still manufactured in CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) factories before they were closed or sold . For example the biscuit factory in Crumpsall, Manchester opened in 1873 finally shutting its doors in 1986 and it might have produced those cream crackers. There is a cream cracker story coming shortly that quintessential dry buscuit that demands a topping. It was invented in Ireland.....

I draw your attention to the cloverleaf logo on these packets. It was introduced in 1968 and adopted by most retail societies and the CWS to create the impression of a national organisation. An attempt to reverse the declining market share with a recognisable brand. Yes it is based on the four-leaf clover, an uncommon variation of three leaf clovers, and good fortune will follow if you find one.

In 1993 it was updated, and used extensively until 2006. But good fortune was hard to find for the co-operative movement during those years. The march of the multiples went on to grab the market share. It is only now with the "The Co-operative" branding do you feel the decline has been halted.

Black and white photo is from the Bishopsgate Institute in London which holds the London Co-operative Society archives. I hope to visit in a few weeks hence. A day out in Shoreditch just for curiosity. They have published lots of photos from the recent past on Flickr.


Andrew Simpson said...

Liked the piece, Lawrence and it reminded me of my days working for the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Store in Woolwich. I spent a happy time working in the distribution department which was in a grand old Victorian warehouse by the Thames. It must once have been a tea warehouse because the place had a permanent smell of tea.
And before that I did a stint at the RACS grocery shop at the Links on Plumstead Common. Spent most of the morning watching the beetroot cook in a giant cooker.

felix said...

There was also a Co-op Biscuit factory in Harlow until the 1980s at least. I think there are Flikr photos of it, perhaps after further use.

Anonymous said...

I left England for the US in early 1990 and the biscuit factory was still going strong at that time. I was the product development manager there and worked at Nabisco Group before then (Peek Freans in London and then Nabisco HQ in Reading). The CWS factory was a wonderful place to work.

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.