Guy’s news: Redressing the balance

Despite the recent kind weather, it has been a hard year for growers – and possibly an even harder one for purveyors of veg boxes. Come snow, rain or shine, we must fill those boxes and get them delivered for a fixed price. After losing four delivery days to snow late last winter, we were already financially stretched; a wet spring then delayed planting, forcing us to rely on additional imports made expensive by a weak pound. This was closely followed by a sweltering three-month drought that led to widespread crop failures. Some sun and heat-loving crops have exceeded expectations, but to nothing like the degree that the failures fell short of them.

You are probably getting the gist of this; we are putting our prices up next month by somewhere between 1.5% and 5% (or 20p-£1) – less for the smaller boxes, more for the larger. We are not alone; under pressure from a weak pound, rising employment costs, scarcity of labour, and weather anomalies, fruit and veg prices across the UK are rising at this rate and more. It is tempting to hang on and hope that the pound will rise against the euro before the UK’s critical Hungry Gap (the late-winter time when fields are bare, before spring crops arrive); that we can claw back summer losses through our winter crops, or that we can press more out of our staff and growers by delaying pay rises and squeezing prices. But none of these options would provide a sustainable and ethically acceptable future.

We completed the elections for our first staff council last week with a 95% turnout. As an employee-owned company, we have some hard decisions to make to balance the needs of staff, suppliers, customers and the environment, while striving to make the right choices on ethical issues like packaging. We hope this modest rise will feel fair to customers, staff and growers alike.

Pumpkin Day is on the way – book your tickets now!
Pull on your wellies and join us on our farms in Hampshire (20th October), Cambridgeshire and Devon (27th October) for our annual family-friendly pumpkin celebration. To find out more and book your tickets now, head to riverford.co.uk/pumpkinday.

20 responses to “Guy’s news: Redressing the balance

  1. That price rise seems absolutely reasonable to me, and as you say, is less than the that of many foods in supermarkets. I think the Riverford boxes are wonderful, of superb quality and good value.

  2. I totally understand the need for the price rise. I choose to use Riverford for many reasons, one of them being fair prices at the Farm gate.

  3. Riverford is the only organisation that I genuinely have no doubts will not fleece or take advantage of its customers. I expect you all to make a decent living and have enough over to invest wisely (and also sleep at night – most often anyway :-)). If the prices need to go up, so be it. Thanks for all the lovely veg and friendly service btw.

  4. I completely agree with earlier comments, price rise seems totally reasonable to me.

  5. As a recent ‘one-off ‘buyer I was agreeably surprised to have my box delivered
    for free, and with such quality produce would not be put off with a price rise.
    Chatting to a grow- your- own neighbour ,we agreed that our fruit and veg
    cost us far more than we would pay to a supermarket, but we enjoy the effort and result.
    You folk should certainly be properly compensated.

  6. The cost of all supermarket shopping has risen sharply and just because Riverford is organic and ethical is no reason why it shouldn’t charge a fair market price, increases are inevitable.

    However, I wouldn’t say that the cost of the veg is ‘far’ more than a supermarket – and the higher cost is offset by the lack of waste as the veg are so fresh there is much less waste than with supermarket veg. All round win!

  7. I agree with all of the above. Some of your prices are significantly lower than those charged by some of the upmarket food shops in Clifton Village, Bristol, and the Riverford quality is certainly much, much higher. Your box is a weekly pleasure.

  8. Totally agree with earlier comments. I have never before felt such relief at knowing the veg I buy from you is safe, full of flavour and no waste. As for price comparisons I too am amazed at some of the prices in the supermarkets.
    I rarely step into them but when I do I feel very smug knowing the quality I get from you is so superior.
    Keep up the good work and we will support you all the way.

  9. I am very happy to pay more for the privilege of getting such excellent vegetables delivered to my door.
    I’m glad you are being sensible about cost as my previous box supplier went on operating at a loss until he had to close his business. Much better to put your prices up!

  10. Happy with the price increase as far better quality than the supermarket, less packaging and very cheerful delivery driver 😊

  11. Katherine Howard

    Totally agree with the above comments. I am very happy to pay a fair price for your delicious Vege and fruit. Feel safe that your products are fully organic and that livestock are cared for humanely

  12. I too am perfectly happy with the increase. The veg box delivery is a highlight of my week and I so appreciate the hard work that goes into growing the fruit and veg and delivering them to me. I also love the organic eggs. A big thank-you to you all.

  13. Happy will remain a loyal customer as I have been for 10 years

  14. I am not surprised that your prices are going up given the weather that farmers have had to endure. From reading your blogs I would be surprised if they were not to go up. I do trust Riverfords to do the best they can for everyone involved .
    Guy can you tell us what you believe to be the cause of T B in cattle , I am sure it would be of interest to many of your customers.

  15. When you say scarcity of labour dos this mean that you are not getting interest from any EU country? Just wondered what the latest is on that. Does that mean you have to sponsor them?

  16. I have been a Riverford customer for about 15 years and am very happy with the superb service and fresh very tasty produce. I fully support a price rise where necessary to continue this wonderful service.

  17. I totally agree with all the above comments.Everything will go up so why not you. If another small rise is needed please go ahead. Your veg is a delight., long may you be there.

  18. Since taking Riverford boxes, I find I spend far less than I used to in the supermarkets because I’m not being bombarded with marketing to buy things I simply don’t need. My monthly shopping bill has dropped, our disposable packaging has reduced and we are eating great tasting food so I don’t begrudge your reasonable increase and I love my weekly deliveries!

  19. Deborah Davenport

    Guy – you and your co-owners do a great job, and you can see from all the comments above how much your efforts are appreciated. Long may it continue.

  20. All been said by the good people above totally fine no problem at all happy to support whatever the decision of the wonderful Riverford Family agree upon in order to continue to happily live life on the veg thank you all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *