Siop y Bobl – Cardiff’s People’s Supermarket

Posted on October 27, 2011


A proposed new food co-operative is aiming to give Cardiff shoppers more affordable choice and get people doing more home cooking.

Ever get fed up with massive supermarkets that seem to offer little choice? A group of Cardiff residents have got together to try and provide the solution with Siop y Bobl – Cardiff’s People’s Supermarket, a project inspired by the Channel 4 documentary The People’s Supermarket.

Gwion Thorpe is the project spokesman and says it was a popular idea from the start as people responded to an online call out. “We had a really positive and energetic first meeting which clearly showed there was an appetite in Cardiff for an alternative to the traditional supermarket,” says Gwion.

Fresh food

Siop y Bobl wants to sell nutritional food

“Despite the growth of farmers’ markets, box schemes and community food enterprises in Cardiff, the big multiples continue to dominate, which ultimately restricts our choices of how, where and what to buy. A crazy statistic is that 75% of the world’s food is grown from only 12 plant types and 5 animal species – that’s clearly not sustainable.”

Siop y Bobl are aiming to become an alternative to this and offer choice determined by the people involved and the rest of the community. They want to strengthen the link between people and their food. “We will source products based on clear nutritional and ethical criteria with a focus on local products,” explains Gwion, “and we will source organic and fair trade products wherever possible.

“But as a ‘people’s supermarket’ it will be a place that meets the needs of its members and the local community so, ultimately, it will sell exactly what people want it to sell. Our aim is to provide a range of goods to satisfy the bulk of any customer’s weekly shop.”

Suitable premises for Siop y Bobl have yet to be found but Gwion explains that there is no rush. “The right building in the right target area is so important for a project like this and it may prove tricky to find the perfect spot. We’re focusing on the mixed inner-city areas of Cardiff. Our hope is that by building a following we can help shape the neighbourhood we are in, although we realise this will take time.”

In the London shop members pay £24 a year and volunteer four hours a month to help run the shop in return for a 10% discount on their shopping. It is run as a co-operative so everyone has a say in how the shop is run and what it sells. Cardiff’s Siop y Bobl will follow the cooperative principles but the volunteer model has yet to be confirmed.

Siop y Bobl have formed a core group of people who are pushing the project forwards, hoping to become a registered business by Christmas but they are very keen for more people to get involved and offer up any skills they may have.

To find out more and to get involved check out the Facebook page, follow Siop y Bobl on Twitter or email core[at]siopybobl[dot]co[dot]uk