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Get your hands on limited edition sausages, beer and chocolate

PUBLISHED: 15:04 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:04 19 March 2018

Members of the East of England Co-op celebrating the society's 150th anniversary. Picture: Matt Leeks

Members of the East of England Co-op celebrating the society's 150th anniversary. Picture: Matt Leeks

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Limited edition food and drink released for for East of England Co-op’s 150th anniversary.

The East of England Co-op celebrates its 150th birthday this month. To honour this massive landmark, for a business which has over 230 stores in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, employing around 4,000 people, several of the supermarket’s Sourced Locally suppliers have launched limited edition products – available now at a store near you.

The range includes everything from eggs and flour, to jam, beer and chocolate.

Fruits of Suffolk, run by preserve maker of 20 years Jenny Gibbons, alongside her niece Louise, has jarred up her deliciously thick and fruity strawberry jam in vintage packaging to mark the East of England Co-op’s anniversary. The jam is made the traditional way in small batches, using as much local fruit as possible.

Butterworths and Son in Bury St Edmunds has also created special packaging just for the East of England Co-op on its breakfast tea, with a limited edition collectable card depicting the Co-operative’s Women’s Guild from Hadleigh in 1928. Rob Butterworth said: “To have a product of outstanding quality worthy to represent this landmark anniversary is a proud moment for the family and our team who strive to consistently provide excellence in everything we do. The East of England Co-op is important to the region, offering great exposure for local producers and businesses. Their family approach, caring attitude with connections to the local communities they serve in, is something to be celebrated indeed.”

Roger Simon of Taste of Suffolk echoed this sentiment: “We are delighted to support this landmark anniversary for the East of England Co-op which carries out great work supporting local producers with its Sourced Locally campaign and we hope they will be celebrating many more anniversaries in the future.”

Taste of Suffolk has this month introduced exclusively into Co-op stores the Craske sausage – in both six packs, or packs of chipolatas. Mr Craske originated in Norfolk and had a number of butchers in the county. On retiring, the Norwich Co-operative Society purchased his shops and this sausage recipe, which has been a closely guarded secret since. You won’t be able to try the coarse, densely meaty, peppery sausage anywhere else in East Anglia.

Other producers who’ve created special packaging to celebrate the Co-op are Producer of the Year finalist Havensfield Eggs, Hadleigh Maid, which has given a glitzy gold shimmer to its Mallow Whirls (outselling Mars Bars in the East of England Co-op stores) Calvors (try the Co-Hop beer), and Marriages and Sons, which has introduced a smaller, 500g pack of its Essex-milled plain flour.

The East of England Co-op has proven itself to be one of the most progressive supermarkets in the country. Its Sourced Locally initiative works closely with suppliers in what’s been coined the UK’s answer to Fairtrade. Women were given the vote by the Co-op 80 years before Parliament. A waste food initiative attracted international press. And the society has led the way on plastic, banning single use carrier bags, and recently introducing a water bottle filling pilot scheme, which should roll out across other stores if successful.

Minnie Moll, joint chief executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “For 150 years we’ve always been looking at the small things we can do that will make a big difference. We’ve never been afraid to try new things and adapt to change, and our story involves so much more than simply selling food.”

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