An association of individual businesses, farmers, ranchers or manufacturers with similar interests, intending to cooperate in marketing, shipping and related activities (sometimes under a single brand name) to sell their products efficiently, and then share the profits based on the production, capital or effort of each. “sunkist” oranges is an example of a large cooperative. cooperatives include dairy milk producers, cotton gins and thousands of other enterprises of all sizes. there are also cooperatives in which consumers form retail outlets like grocery stores and share the profits based on the amount of patronage of each member, but they have found it difficult to compete with the giant supermarket chains. some cooperatives exist to operate housing complexes.