Tag Archives: supermarkets

Price Comparison – great value vegbox

In a moment of procrastination I decided to weigh out all the veg in today’s Summer box, and compare the cost with how much I would have had to spend in the supermarkets to get the same produce.

I visited the online shopping sites of Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, and created a shopping basket to resemble the summer box as closely as possible. In each case I included delivery – £5 for Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, and £4.50 for Tesco (cheapest options).
Here are the results:
Waitrose, £28.13. I could not source organic basil leaves or organic radish, so non-organic prices were used. I could not source Red Chard, so the closest I could find was spinach, for the purposes of costing. There were 60 grams less broad beans, and 50 grams more radish.

Sainsbury’s, £27.48. Broad beans and basil were non-organic. The spring onions were 20g lighter, the spinach 40g lighter, the mushrooms 70g lighter, and not portabella but white field mushrooms. There were more broad beans, though: 500g instead of 360g in the summer box. Again, chard wasn’t available so I substituted spinach.

Tesco, c£26.00. Couldn’t be more precise as I couldn’t source broad beans or chard, and the courgettes didn’t show a weight, but I got to £23.84 substituting spinach for chard, and by including a 3-pack of courgettes (there were also 3 in the summer box), and leaving out broad beans entirely as I couldn’t think of a suitable replacement. The tomatoes were 100g lighter, the mushrooms 70g lighter, the radish 50g lighter, the basil 25g heavier, spring onion 25g heavier than the summer box items. Basil, spring onion and radish not organic.

The Riverswale box at £12.96 delivered (inc debit card charge) is fab value, before you even consider the better quality produce, and even if you forget the delivery charges of the supermarkets.

I look forward to next week’s box.
David (River Swale customer)

Riverford buys the Prince’s Carrots

Sainsbury’s may have rejected organic carrots grown by the Prince of Wales and Soil Association founder Patrick Holden, but Riverford has bought them – all 25 tonnes. Riverford’s Andy Johnson said, “Our customers are very discerning people who demand tasty carrots and they absolutely loved them.” What was Sainsbury’s problem?

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.