The Co-operative Group has started holding meetings with agencies as it undertakes  its long-awaited review of its advertising spend.

The so called “chemistry meetings” are being handled by AAR

The first meetings are thought to have taken place this week, though the Manchester-based group will not comment on the process.

Leo Burnett London is the incumbent, having won the £50 million creative account after a competitive pitch against CHI & Partners and Now in 2012. Before that TBWA\Manchester was the lead agency.

The creative account is thought to be £50 million a year, though this does not include Co-operative Insurance, the account for which is held by Rapp.

The Co-operative Bank which was split from the group in 2013, after a drug scandal and a £1.5 billion shortfall, is also handled Leo Burnett but that account is not thought be included in the review.

The incumbent appears to be in a strong position, this month Co-operative Food came out top in the 2015 BrandIndex list of supermarket improvers.

Its improvement score (6.4) also made the Co-operative supermarket the 4th-biggest improver across all sectors.

The biggest improver overall was The Co-operative Bank.