As Storm Freya prepares to batter the UK, the damage done from 2018’s ‘Beast from the East’ has been shown to have dampened profits at organic veg box company Riverford, despite an increase in sale.
The continued trend for convenience and ethical buying has allowed Riverford to produce and deliver its veg boxes to more than 50,000 homes throughout the country each week.
Its network of growers and suppliers in the UK includes Home Farm at Newby Wiske and other North Yorkshire producers.
Turnover at the company rose by 7.4 per cent to £60.9 million, up from £56.7m the previous year, for the 52 weeks to 30 April 2018, mainly due to a rise in average order value.
Profit before tax slipped from £783,758 to £55,395 for the year due to adverse weather and the impact of snow in February 2018, as well as operational costs from a new packing system being installed.
Looking ahead for the next financial year, managing director Rob Haward said there is a positive outlook with sales already up 10 per cent year on year, despite the concerns over a no-deal Brexit which he said would pose the business “significant difficulties”.
He said: “We are already 10 per cent up on sales, a position we haven’t been in for over a decade. We are seeing the benefit from a general shift towards plant-based diets, and shoppers looking for more ethical buying options.
“Last year’s installation of a new ‘pack-by-light’ packing system was our largest operational investment for 25 years and it took some time to consolidate.
“Now that is bedded in, we anticipate further efficiencies.”