Devon grower comes top in veg box survey

Grower and vegetable box seller Riverford came top in a study by The Telegraph newspaper which compared organic vegetable box schemes with non-organic supermarket produce.

It concluded that organic vegetable box schemes cost more but make up value through flavours and lack of pesticides.

The study sampled boxes from suppliers Abel & Cole, Ocado and Riverford and compared prices with non-organic produce available online at Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Results found Devon-based Riverford provided the best value for money with a large box costing £19.80 with free delivery. The box caters for four people plus. The equivalent amount of non-organic vegetables at Sainsbury’s came to £21 and Tesco £17.10. 

Riverford founder Guy Watson said sales of the boxes had risen by 20 per cent since last year.

"We keep prices down by relentlessly searching for economies within the whole food chain – from sowing the seed through to the kitchen. We reduce packaging to an absolute minimum, reuse boxes and keep a broad specification. If a cauliflower is small we’ll put two in."

In second place was Abel & Cole with a large box catering for three to five people costing £19.50, plus 99p delivery. An equivalent weight-for-weight cost at Sainsbury’s was £16.90 while at Tesco it was £15.20. 

Ocado’s £24.99 large fruit, vegetable and salad box had a delivery charge of up to £5.99. It compared to prices of £21.50 at Sainsbury’s and £15.35 at Tesco. 

The study praised the range in the boxes and said there was value in knowing food had been exposed to as few chemicals as possible.

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