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Revolver Co-operative Case Study from Aston University

Revolver Co-operative Case Study from Aston University

Revolver Cooperative Limited

Innovation voucher scheme used to develop the packaging required to bring an innovative product to market, resulting in new sales and customers, and increased turnover

Revolver Cooperative Ltd is a coffee brand, established in 2010. It is a multi-stakeholder cooperative, organised as an industrial and Provident Society. It’s products are sold to other businesses, predominately the Co-operative, which then sells the products in its individual stores. All products are Fairtrade certified, with the majority also being organic. Revolver Cooperative Ltd began by producing a range of ground coffee, before launching a ‘Revolver Nespresso’ Capsule range, compatible with all Nespresso coffee machines.

Challenge

Paul Birch, Director of the company, described how Revolver Cooperative Ltd was keen to launch an innovative range of ‘coffee bags’. These are used in the same way as teabags (although contain four times the content) – they are added to a cup, hot water is poured in, and the coffee is brewed. At the time of development, there was only four other brands with ‘coffee bags’, on the market. This was compared to approximately 20 brands with Nespresso capsules, and approximately 80 brands with ground coffee. Bringing a new and innovative product to market was viewed as an opportunity to diversify the brand and standout from competitiors.

“The more we innovate the more we stand out from other brands”

The first challenge was developing a cost-efficient packaging solution which would also meet retailer requirements (e.g. appropriate size for shelf). As the company was not creating a brand new product, it needed to ensure consumers could afford it. The second challenge was funding this phase, initial product development had reduced the amount of revenue available for this.

Innovation Voucher Solution

Paul had previous experience of engaging with Aston University, as Revolver Cooperative Ltd had provided business placement opportunities for its students. He was informed of the Innovation Grant Scheme by the university’s Business Support Coordinator for the programme.

“Aston University has significant outreach into the business community in the local area.”

Paul described how the Innovation Grant Scheme seemed like a ‘fantastic opportunity’. He had an initial telephone conversation with the Business Support Coordinator who outlined what funding was available and how it could support Revolver Cooperative Ltd getting the coffee bags to market.

Paul found the application process very straightforward. He received ongoing support from the project manager who advised him how to produce a successful application.

“They guided us through the whole process – they were very supportive”.

Impact

The packaging style was designed in house, and the box architecture was developed from scratch by Walsall Box Company, who Revolver Cooperative Ltd worked closely with to: design the box which holds the ‘coffee bags’; confirm the amount of coffee to be included in each bag; decide the size of the box (informed by market research in stores and reviewing competitor products); and design the outer cartons which would be used to transport the individual boxes to stores.

Revolver Cooperative Ltd was awarded the Innovation Grant in October 2017, and by January 2018 the product was successfully launched in approximately 70 stores, covering Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, West Midlands county, Staffordshire and Shropshire.

“We came to the market much earlier than we would have done without the project’s support; the chances are, without it, we wouldn’t have come to market”.

Since launching the product, Revolver CooperativeLtd was approached by Midcounties Cooperative to a joint venture to pilot the running of a café in their Old Town store, Swindon. This would support the company’s vision to be the UK’s first truly ethical high street coffee shop chain. It is currently looking for investors to support achievement of this vision. Paul felt that the launch of the product had helped Revolver Cooperative Ltd become a more visible brand, and therefore to attract new businesses.

To summarise, since accessing the Innovation Grant Scheme, Revolver Cooperative Ltd had brought a new product to market, resulting in new sales and customers, and an increase in turnover. These impacts were largely seen to be as a result of the company’s engagement with the scheme; Paul would definitely recommend the scheme to others.

Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2019 Revolver Co-operative Limited
 
 
All Rights Reserved.
 
 © Revolver World 2019

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Revolver World won the Great Taste Award for a fourth consecutive year

Revolver World won the Great Taste Award for a fourth consecutive year

 
For immediate release
 
Revolver ® have for the fourth year been winners in The Great Taste Awards. Revolver ® Specialty Sumatra achieved 2*,  judges described it as “Excellent, smooth mouthfeel. Big flavour upfront. Some ash-y notes but takes sugar well and rounded off really well. Fine example of a big roast, has some balance and some good savoury notes. Good fruity acidity to balance the darker flavours.”
 
Judges also gave 2* to our Revolver World ® Fairtrade ® Rwanda Munganero single estate. They described it as “Interesting crema, almost orange in colour. First hint on the palate leads you to believe there is going to be too much acidity but it mellows into a very pleasing caramel creaminess.The long finish is very well balanced and reveals good depth – hints of buttery biscuit. For a single origin this took us on an interesting journey.”
 
The Great Taste Awards are created by the Guild of Fine Foods. Although many coffees are entered into the awards, there are comparatively few winner and only a small percentage are Fairtrade coffees.
 
John Boyle (Chair) “it’s the people behind the scenes who make the magic happen, the credit goes to the farmers and their co-operatives who care-deeply about the product and our co-operative colleagues in stores, who make everything simple for shoppers“.
 
Paul Birch (CEO) said “This is the fourth year running we have won Great Taste Awards. These award winning products will be available very soon. It’s great to work with expert buyers and roasters who are able to get the best out of the product.” Revolver ® were awarded the Fair Tax mark earlier in the year (the first Food / Beverage company working in commodities) and just the 20th firm in Britain to receive the award. In 2015 Revolver was awarded the Living Wage Foundation certification and was the 6th company in Birmingham to receive the cities Social Responsibility Charter (now over 300 firms hold the charter mark). Revolver ® is organised as a multi-stakeholder co-operative, members include producers in the developing world. It ranks second for ethics as judged by Ethical Consumer magazine.
Except where stated, this site and it’s contents are © Copyright 2019 Revolver Co-operative Limited
 
 
All Rights Reserved.
 
 © Revolver World 2019