Since opening in 1996 Unicorn Grocery has offered an unbeatable range of affordable, fresh and wholesome food to its South Manchester customer base.
Maintaining an approach of direct purchasing and competitive pricing, Unicorn has become one of the largest and most successful wholefood outlets in the UK, named The Observer Food Monthly's 'Best Independent Shop' and Radio 4 Food Programme's 'Best Local Food Retailer’ in 2008.
Unicorn’s basic offer is affordable, wholesome food with a focus on organic, fair-trade and local sourcing. Ethical principles remain at the core of the business and influence not only what is sold but also how business is done. As a workers co-operative the shop is owned and managed by the people who work in it, and they have created a place they want to shop in themselves.
Unicorn’s focus is on basic ingredients for tasty, interesting and really affordable cooking:
- Around seventy lines of organic fruit and veg represent the NW region and beyond, at prices that compare well to supermarket competitors. Unicorn also owns 21 acres of prime growing land, just 14 miles from the shop, tenanted by a co-op of organic growers, further improving and securing the regional veg supply for the future.
- Packed on site, a wide variety of staple cooking ingredients including pulses, grains, nuts, dried fruits and spices, provide the basis for really good value meals. Many are organic. Find some unusual items alongside all the basics.
- In addition to a great range of organic beer and wine there's daily fresh organic bread and an ever-expanding deli counter.
- In non-food, find an expanding selection of environmentally friendly baby products, cosmetics and household goods made from natural ingredients.
- Unicorn caters for people who like to cook from scratch using great ingredients.
The shop is full of information about trade and food issues, and aims to help customers make informed shopping choices. From a turnover of £3,500 to £5 million, from 4 members to 50, Unicorn donates a steady 5% of wage costs to local and international projects relating to its Principles of Purpose. It also contributes to a tree planting scheme with a carbon tax in an attempt to offset some of the environmental impact of running the business.
Ethics & Principles
The principles are the foundations of
Unicorn and the framework within which we work. In our global
market it's not easy and we have to say we are striving
towards the ideal. But these principles were decided on
before the shop opened, they are why a lot of us are here
and have been consistent in informing our decisions. Read
The Glebelands - Unicorn model - A Cooperative Approach
to Sustainable Urban Food Supply.
Despite the recent interest in food miles and local
food, only a very small fraction of the food consumed in
Britain travels less than 30 miles. Glebelands is a pioneering
urban market garden project in Sale that supplies Unicorn,
reducing this distance to less than 5 miles. Read
Feeding Manchester is the online hub for sustainable food in Greater Manchester - for growers, cooks, retailers and community projects everything you need to know is here.
Unicorn Facebook page.
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