Carrots & why supermarkets can’t have it their way

Some of you have already commented on the media hoo-ha over Sainsbury’s rejecting the head of the Soil Association’s carrot crop. As the eventual buyers of Patrick Holden’s carrots, we think that this saga highlights the lunacy of the supermarkets’ controlling and overly centralised approach to buying and selling food.

Sainsbury’s said they rejected the carrots because they were destroyed by rot. The fact is that we eventually bought over half Patrick Holden’s crop in grade A condition and our veg box customers loved them – rightly so because they were great.

When it comes to rejecting crops, the supermarkets like to make out that their hands are tied. The reality is that they are incredibly prescriptive in what they deem acceptable. Shape, size and minor blemishes all lead to rejection, waste and a financial squeeze for farmers.

The supermarkets demand that 75% of a crop is packable which is why the farmers that supply them are often forced to focus on appearance at the expense taste. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Veg box schemes like ours cut the supermarkets out of the distribution chain and this has to be good for both farmers and for customers. There is life beyond the supermarkets and it tastes good.

4 responses to “Carrots & why supermarkets can’t have it their way

  1. Not quite. I’ve had a few bad Riverford carrots and more bad Riverford potatoes which, had I bought them at Tesco, would definitely have been returned and replaced. It is more difficult to return stuff to Riverford – and lazy people like me don’t bother – you can get away with much more than Tesco can.

  2. Very sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with our veg. We like to think our customer service is at least as good as Tescos. Inevitably we get the odd thing wrong, but we are always ready to recognize this and put it right. Talk to the person who delivers to you, call us, or email us – but do please tell us about any problems so we can put them right!

  3. I dont care what the carrot looks like as long as its good for me and my family, tastes good, is not covered in chemicals and as local to me as possible. Then so be it! I’ve not had any bad carrots as yet! So keep up the good work Riverford!!!

  4. I have only ever returned 1 herb box to Riverford and there was no problem at all, no questions asked it was replaced in my next delivery. It is easy to return food to tesco’s too – after a 10mile round trip in my car and probably being tempted to buy a whole trolley load of stuff at the same time.

    The odd duff carrot is great on the compost heap, and my children learn that carrots actually come from the ground, mud and all, and come in all shapes and sizes, oh and they taste great too.

    Keep up the good work Riverford!

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