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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Saturday May 18th 2024

Seward Co-Op Creates Rating for Excellence and Cooperative Ethics “Principle Six” “preferred products” Debuts Oct. 2

by Lindsey Frey and Tom Vogel

Seward Co-op Grocery & Deli launches a new product rating system October 2nd that highlights products from small, local farmers and producers, as well as cooperative businesses. Going beyond the expected “organic” and “local” labeling, conscientious shoppers can select and purchase items produced in the most responsible ways possible.

Principle Six (P6) is an initiative created by Seward Co-op and five consumer grocery cooperatives nationwide in partnership with Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative encourage consumers to use purchasing dollars to support small, local farmers and producers, as well as cooperative businesses.

“Historically, many co-op shoppers have aligned their grocery purchases with companies that best represent their values,” said Sean Doyle, general manager of Seward Co-op. “While organic and fair trade are very important, P6 takes into account other values, including support for local economies and quality small-scale production. We hope the P6 designation boosts sales for these producers and businesses, while also giving our shoppers a quick way to identify products and companies we”'ve vetted as ”˜the best of the best.”'”

The P6 distinction shows consumers more than just how the products are produced but also considers who produces them. P6 products are pioneering a new way of doing business that emphasizes relationships ”“ between farm, processor, store and consumer. P6 represents an enhanced level of depth and transparency that allows consumers a better appreciation for the sustainable practices of small, local cooperatives producers.

P6 Products P6 must meet two of the three criteria:

Local ”“a product grown or produced in the 5-state region – MN, WI, SD, ND, IA.

Cooperative/nonprofit ”“cooperative ownership of the business, where members have a stake in the business, or nonprofit status.

Small farmer/producer ”“a.) independently owned and operated, and b.) selling direct to store or through a local distributor with a regional distribution area.

World Cooperatives operate according to 7 principles that reflect the values of the cooperative-based business model. The sixth principle, “cooperation among cooperatives,” emphasizes the importance of doing business with and supporting other co-ops. Through this principle of purposeful cooperation and mutual support, the co-ops strive to build an economy that reflects these values.

The International Cooperative Principles:

Voluntary and Open Membership

  • Democratic Member Control
  • Member Economic Participation
  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Education, Training and Information
  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  • Concern for Community

A list of all Seward Co-op”'s P6 items can be viewed at the Customer Service Desk and on the store website at More information is available at Also, look for signage and additional information on P6 throughout the store.

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