The U.S. has relatively few co-ops involved in manufacture, which tends to be handled through worker ownership. The key obstacle seems to be balancing democratic structure with the need for economies of scale. Very large co-ops do exist elsewhere – most notably the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in the Basque Country of Spain – but in this country large-scale employee ownership is usually created through Employee Stock Ownership Plans, or ESOPS.
Isthmus Engineering is a 30-year old manufacturing co-op in Wisconsin, specializing in automated assembly lines.
Alvarado Street Bakery is a California bakery specializing in natural sprouted breads.
Frontier Natural Products is an Iowa-based retailer-owned cooperative specializing in culinary, bodycare and medicinal herb products.
Western Family Foods packages and distributes 6,000 private label products to independent grocers who are members of one of eight wholesale co-ops that share ownership of this company.