Riverford Organic, the organic food delivery franchise, has seen pre-tax profits more than double for the year to April to £1.23m. The growth of the franchise compares favourably to overall declining organic sales figures in the UK, which were down 3.7% in 2011 according to the Soil Association Organic Market Report 2012.
Riverford enjoyed a 6% increase in sales as dedicated organic food buyers sought out more specialist retailers – most notably box and home delivery schemes. At the same time, the combined sales of the six leading multiple retailers in organic food sales dropped 9.5%.
However, as Riverford’s founder Guy Watson is keen to point out, being organic is just a part of the bigger picture for the company.
“Probably the most critical thing for our customers is the fact that we look after our suppliers,” he says. “We have contracts of up to seven years with farmers, which is unheard of in the industry.
“Our uncompromising stance on both ethics and quality is something that our customers appreciate. This is reflected in the fact that more than half of our sales come from people who have been shopping with us for more than five years – a demonstration of incredible loyalty.”
Nicky Morgan, Riverford’s franchise services manager, adds: “The deep-rooted customer loyalty we have attracts new franchisees to the brand. Even more exciting is the fact that many of our new and existing franchisees were once customers – a ringing endorsement for Riverford as a trusted business, franchise and brand.”