SuperCoop – The project

Why did we start SuperCoop Berlin?

We started SuperCoop because we were not satisfied with the current supermarket system, characterised by its opacity, whether on origin or price. The food industry continues to produce ever cheaper, lower quality food at the expense of public health, farmers’  livelihoods and the environment.

  • Lack of transparency
    A recent Oxfam study ranked the 4 largest German supermarkets among the most opaque and unsustainable in Europe.
  • Social & environmental costs
    For each euro spent on food, our society pays an additional euro on environmental & social costs (what economists call negative externalities), a recent study from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation discovered.
  • Inequalities of access
    Access to sustainable (local, fair and organic) and healthy products are unfortunately mostly a question of money. For example, the price premium from conventional to organic products in Germany is on average 70% higher when comparing equivalent brand segments. 
  • Mistrust
    Although the rate of organic food sold in conventional retailers is growing, unsettling discrepancies in terms of price & quality standards are also on the rise as we move towards industrialised organic production. The inconsistencies in organic quality standards result in a loss of trust from consumers–which is further exacerbated by the fact that social criteria tend to be overlooked.

A supermarket is a fantastic place to tackle (some of!) these issues. We believe that  cooperation and participation can bring together elements of solutions for a fairer distribution of value along the chain.

What are our core principles?

Each member contributes 3 hours a month and takes part in the supermarket´s daily operations.

Co-ownership & democracy
Each member is a shareholder of the cooperative. Important decisions regarding supermarket policy are made during general assemblies, where each member has the opportunity to cast their vote.

The gross margin on all products is transparent and the entire profit is reinvested in the supermarket. In addition, financial planning and product purchasing information will be available to the public.

What are our goals?

SuperCoop is for its members, by its members. It is for Wedding and all of Berlin.

We want to connect with our neighbors and build the supermarket we all want to see on our street corner. We want a supermarket that offers:

  • Products we can trust (because we know what’s in them and how they were made)
  • People we can trust (because the supermarket is run by us!)
  • Prices which are transparent & fair to producers and consumers (because we bring them closer together)
  • Visibility of what happens to the profits (because we decide where they go)

From producers to consumers, SuperCoop is for everyone looking to make a change in our food system.

We support producers and suppliers who treat their employees fairly and protect the environment, both regionally and globally.

Just like we have been inspired by other coops, we also hope to inspire more communities to follow this example. Step by step the movement of cooperative supermarkets keeps growing, making a difference for food producers, consumers and communities all over the world.

why do we think it is possible?

Park Slope Food Coop (New York City) and La Louve (Paris) serve as strong evidence that this model is successful!

Park Slope Food Coop, New York City:
Date of creation: 1973
Members: 17.000
Full-time employees: 80
Total Surface: 1.700 m²
Annual turnover (2018): 67 M€
Extra services: childcare, soup kitchen, compost
Community : The dedication of this community is remarkable. People are willing to commute for hours simply to reach their favorite supermarket.

To get further insights, check out this video about Park Slope Food Coop.

La Louve, Paris:
Date of creation: 2016
Members: 4.500
Full-time employees: 10
Total surface: 1.450 m2
Annual turnover (2018): 5.5 M€
Extra services: food education, food sharing, participation in neighborhood events.

To get further insights, check out this video about La Louve.

How can I Get Involved?

Become an active member!

The first step to becoming an active member is to attend a Welcome Session. We do this to ensure that everyone who decides to join the coop, does so fully informed.

Become a supporting (investing) member!

Investing members do not have to work. Therefore they do not shop or vote either. If you would like to become an investing member, please send us an email at contact@supercoop.de.

Spread the word!

  • Talk to your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors! In particular, we’re looking for folks to spread the word in and around Wedding! Here’s some information to help you get started!
  • Stay updated: subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram

 Partner with us! 

Is your business or organization also working towards a more sustainable future? Let’s talk and see how we can support each other! Write us: contact@supercoop.de 

How can I get involved if I don’t live in Berlin?

We are part of a bigger movement and similar projects are being founded in different German cities such as HamburgMunich or Cologne. Find more information about creating your coop here!

Alternatively you can support the coop financially, and become an investing member! Investing members do not work, and therefore, they do not shop or vote either. Please write us at contact@supercoop.de if interested. 

Won't we become a kind of "competition" for Unverpackt stores?

We are in exchange with the Unverpackt stores and other great, sustainable initiatives. We don’t see them as competitors, but rather as complementors and partners who supplement our business model. With this model, we primarily do not want to poach sustainable consumers from others, but rather expand the offer and increase the share of people who do not yet regularly shop in these stores. The organic market share is only 6% in Germany – so we want to mobilize the 94% together and “expand the pie” instead of competing for it. SirPlus and Original Unverpackt are also important trailblazers that, for example, also make it easier for us to source unpackaged food and market expired products – which was much harder legally before.

Membership model

Who can become a member?

Anyone who shares our values and is above 18 years old can join SuperCoop.

Can Everyone Shop in the Supermarket?

Only members who complete their monthly 3-hour shift can shop in the supermarket. 

Can I Choose When I do my 3 Hour Shift?

Yes, of course. Every member should choose a shift time that best fits their availability. For smooth organization, we recommend that shifts be fixed from one month to the next .

Is it Possible to Pay More and Work Less?

No, it is not allowed. 

The model is successful because it is based on cooperation and inclusivity. Therefore every member has the same rights and obligations.

What is the difference between SuperCoop & LPG?

LPG actually only stands for “lecker, preiswert, gut” which means “tasty, cheap, good” and is officially not a cooperative, but a limited liability company. So you can become a member to get discounted prices, but you are not really a shareholder and cannot have a vote. The LPG membership can therefore be compared to a BahnCard, which promotes customer loyalty – simply a different model than SuperCoop. In addition, the LPG membership works through a 2-price system, which we do not plan at SuperCoop and the members do not help in the operation of the store.

The Supermarket in Details

What can I expect during my 3 hour shift?

First of all, great people to connect with, fun and good coffee! 😉
But more seriously, the tasks are distributed among the team members according to the needs of the moment: cashier, receiving deliveries, shelving, cleaning….
All cooperators are required to respect infrastructures and the safety rules.

Which Products Will be Available at SuperCoop?

Everything you need
Like any other supermarket, we will offer a broad assortment of food & non-food items (hygiene, cleaning articles etc.). It is a matter of convenience and it allows members to fully benefit from the system by doing all your shopping at one place.

Organic and conventional products
We plan to have over 4.000 product references, among which a majority will be organic. As we care about reducing plastic packaging, we will also offer bulk products. The rest will be sourced conventionally in order to be as inclusive as possible. In other words, conventional counterparts to organic products will be offered when the price difference is great enough to create barriers in access.

An offer reflecting our members ́needs
We will build our assortment step by step. We want to offer as wide a range as possible so that our members may benefit from this model to the fullest. As we work to secure the ideal location, we will reach out to our community in order to better understand their cultural eating preferences, and work to take them into account as we build our product assortment.

Working with local farmers
We want to put seasonality & terroir back on our plates, to reward producers and their products grown with respect of the region’s climate and know-how. We are looking for opportunities to work directly with a handful of regional farmers, selected for their ecological farming practices, for dairy products, meat and locally growing vegetables. We also plan to sell “wonky” vegetables typically rejected by vendors as we want to move away from the cosmetic standards imposed by the agri-food industry. Additional items will be sourced from wholesalers. Working exclusively with farmers is not realistic because it would mean developing our own logistics, which we are currently not equipped to do.

What about prices?

Better prices through collaboration & goodwill
Thanks to the monthly contributions of our members, the cost of personnel is dramatically reduced and subsequently reflected in product prices. Just a few full-time employees manage the supermarket while daily tasks such as receiving deliveries, stocking shelves, maintenance, or running the cash register are done by members. We also avoid expenses we consider to be unnecessary, such as marketing costs.

Our margin rate will be set to cover operational costs, and profits will be reinvested in the structure to continuously improve the services we offer. It is impossible to know our exact margin rate before knowing where we will be located; this is why we are careful when tackling the price question. We plan to set a low, fixed margin, which means that some products will be much cheaper while others might be equal in price to “competitors.” However, in the long run the equation is simple: the larger the community, the lower the prices, as per capita structural costs will go down. So let’s build a huge community!

What do we mean we say "sustainability"?

Sustainability is a very broad topic. This word has been so often misused that we prefer talking about it in terms of accessibility and transparency towards more sustainable consumption and production (Sustainable Development Goals 2, 10 and 12).

Direct impacts
Direct impacts refer to the impacts we produce as a supermarket and which we have control of. SuperCoop has a strong social dimension, placing inclusivity at the core of its mission and governance model (check sections “Goal” and “The Core Principles”). Besides, we aim to pay our employees a fair remuneration which isn’t a common practice in the sector. We also plan to develop a labelling system displaying the percentage of the final price going to suppliers, to SuperCoop and to the state (VAT) respectively, offering members a clear view of the real economic cost of food products.
On the environmental side, direct impacts typically stem from energy consumption and food waste. We will try to minimize these from the outset, for instance by investing in cooling vitrines for highly perishable vegetables to minimize their waste, sometimes amounting to 50%! Selling beyond “best-before” dates is another concrete practice we’d like to put in place. We will give waste to charities as a last resort solution after having explored all synergies possible depending on where we will be located. Furthermore, we will study the financial feasibility of sourcing renewable energy and having smart cooling facilities, even though we are likely to go for leasing until we reach a certain financial stability.

Indirect impacts
Most of a supermarket ́s impacts are indirect and concentrated in the products it sells (in its so-called value chain). Food systems – encompassing all steps from production to consumption – are responsible for a third of worldwide greenhouse gases. Beyond CO2 emissions, our industrial model produces many other detrimental impacts: deforestation, grassland conversion, biodiversity loss, eutrophication of the ocean, loss of soil microbiology and with it the declining capacity of soils to produce food for the future generations. Social impacts and modern slavery are also central aspects that we simply don´t see and grasp as end-consumers. The remuneration of smallholder farmers often does not exceed 1% of consumer end price for commodities such as avocado, bananas, shrimp, green beans etc. threatening farmers ́food security. If you want to know more, this Oxfam study is a good starting point. So you can see that it is no easy task to limit the damage when direct contact with farmers is not possible. However, we can begin to address them through our sourcing policy and assessments of suppliers, therefore delivering transparency for our members. We are currently in the process of building our own assessment of suppliers based on existing best practices with a particular focus on transparency. We know there is hardly a perfect product (and a lot of opacity), but there should be a minimum of willingness to make a change and be held accountable. These are the people we want to work with.

What do we mean when we say "transparency"?

For us transparency means having more visibility over different parts of our supermarket.


We share as much information as possible about:

How food is made
How it gets to us
How we decide what its price will be
How we decide what to do with the profits

We (will) do this in many ways: signs and labels in the store, offering translations, displaying information on our website and wiki. We created a SuperCoop wiki so all of us members could have a better overview of our different working groups and how others can get involved.


Prices in supermarkets do not reflect the true economic cost of the food and other products on the shelves. For example, supermarkets apply different margins (in other words, the difference between the price supermarkets buy products at and the price they sell them at) depending on the type of product.

The margin applied to products at SuperCoop is also visible to all our members. We can also discuss openly at our regular member gathering (Plenum) how prices are set. We work to find a balance between the needs of the producers and suppliers we work with, and our own needs as members. This is what both Park Slope Food Coop and La Louve did, and it works!

Decisions (and what happens to the profits)

We also have visibility over how and why decisions are made (for example, what to do with the money we make), because we all can join our regular member gatherings (Plenum) where topics are openly discussed and decisions are made through a vote. For those who prefer not to participate in the Plenum, they can catch up by reading the minutes or checking out a summary on our wiki.

In general our goal is to make information clear and accessible to all using our general monthly newsletter and our weekly member newsletter.

How are Decisions Made?

It depends! The key decision-making entities are the General Assembly and the Plenum. This is where all members gather to make collective decisions (either virtually or in-person). As a shareholder, each member has one vote and can democratically influence the supermarket’s policy (example: criteria for product selection)

In the SuperCoop community, members are encouraged to discuss topics of interest, such as zero-waste, social services, food waste, communication, installations, etc… By forming a working group, several members can work together to propose solutions, which will then be discussed and voted upon by the rest of the community during the Plenum.

Members have a major influence on supermarket operations, but it is important to keep in mind that some issues will be dealt with by employees, who have a precise daily overview.


How do I reach the supermarket?

We are located at Oudenarder Str. 16 (Osram Höfe). You can find us directly on the corner of Oudenarder Str. & Seestr., opposite the tram station Osram Höfe. The U6 (Seestraße) and the U9 (Nauener Platz) are a 5-10 minute walk from the store.

Note on accessibility: Unfortunately, our entrance to Seestraße has steps, but there is a wheelchair accessible entrance with a ramp (6% incline) through the courtyard at building D03. Check out the map below to see how to get there. Do you see other barriers to accessing our coop? Please contact us to let us know!

Will we open another location?

Currently there are no plans to open a second supermarket, BUT we are in the process of developing pick-up stations so that we can reach more areas of Berlin. More details to follow here and in our newsletter!

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