Co-op Math

I’m back from Italy (and Germany, where the football hooligans were anticlimactic but I got to have a great random dinner encounter when I was seated at a table with some Israelis, and also have my most fluent conversation of the trip while waiting for the subway…in Russian). It’s good to be back, but my brain is still in Italy (along with my heart probably), and if you want an Italy-free blog, I would advise you to check back in about a month. Maybe I’ll have it out of my system by then. Maybe not.

So…pictures are up! Check out (!)

Coop Famiglie (the food co-ops) are part of a national purchasing/labeling/production cooperative called Co-op Italia that allows it to sell co-op label stuff of all sorts at really cheap prices. They have a bunch of different lines, including one called “Solidal” (or Solidarity). It is a line of Fair Trade products that includes the usual stuff that is becoming somewhat widespread in the US: chocolate, coffee, bananas, and a co-op version of Nutella. But it also includes soccer balls, shirts, and roses. You can see the whole line for yourself by going to and clicking on the solidal link on the left side. Now, usually this sort of stuff is premium price, but check this out: it appears that they have combined not-for-profit with economies of scale that they are selling these items at prices rivaling their conventional counterparts.

 For example, the co-op Nutella was E1.99 with a E0.20 discount (the regular Nutella was listed in a magazine ad at E1.59 at 22% off) so basically they were the same price. Also, when was the last time you saw a full size chocolate bar (100g) for E1.04 (roughtly US$1.40 regular price?

I just went off the deep end and found out that there is a “Hershey Bar Index” that serves as a sort of inflation measurement, and a 44g bar cost 59c this year. That means that 100g of crappy cheap exploitative Hershey chocolate would cost almost $1.35. That’s close enough that I went back and found out that E1.04 actually equals US$1.327, a savings of more than two cents for a vastly superior product (which you incidentally get the option of eating while in Italy, which has to count for something). AND, I just noticed that I got a 10.5c (?) discount, so it is close to 10% cheaper, more like $1.20. Co-ops officially rock.

So the advanced math question is how many Organic Fair Trade Co-op chocolate bars does Andrew have to eat before his trip to Italy pays for itself? I wish I’d made this connection while I was still over there.

No, wait. No I don’t. I would have made myself ill.

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3 Responses to Co-op Math

  1. Pingback: The co-op plan can’t work? « Cooperate and No One Gets Hurt

  2. Denise says:

    How do I buy the chocolate from the U.S.? I just got back from there and the Solidal chocolate is the bomb. I didn’t bring back enough though.

  3. coopgeek says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s not available here. I guess you’ll just have to go back for more. There are worse things…

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