Customers' Own Veg Patches - Growth Area For Franchise Owners

Veg Box Franchisees Unearth Fresh Source of Profit In a slightly ironic business twist, franchisees who sell organic vegetables and other organic produce to their customers are now starting to enjoy a profit by getting those same customers to buy ‘grow your own veg', plant and flower boxes.

Riverford Organic's founder, Guy Watson, said: "Nine out of 10 Riverford customers are passionate about organic food, and already grow, or want to grow, their own veg - particularly in the warmer months. While it might seem strange that we're effectively encouraging people to compete with us, Riverford is about creating a sense of community, and we think that the more people get connected with their food, the better. Our ‘grow your own veg' box scheme is an extension of that ethos."

Today, with a range that includes a box of high quality organic seedling plants, and a detailed planting guide, garden enthusiasts are now able to grow their own vegetables, herbs and flowers with Riverford's Organic's high quality seedlings.

Riverford's Portsmouth franchisee, Jim Harbridge, says of the scheme: "I think that ‘the boxes to grow' are a great idea, and sit very well within the Riverford philosophy of encouraging customers to enjoy the process - and also the rewards - of growing their own vegetables, herbs and flowers."

He adds: "My customers enjoy telling me about how their veg is coming along, which helps to build a sense of community, and that naturally helps with customer retention."

Laura Cottee, Riverford's Territory Services Manager, said: "Some Riverford customers - particularly the garden enthusiasts - love growing their own veg in the summer. At Riverford, we believe organic food should have a social element to it, whether that's in the eating or the growing of it. In this sense, with our ‘grow your own veg' box scheme, we've inadvertently completed the circle. Where other people may see competition, i.e. customers growing the same veg we sell, we've seen an opportunity and are using it to enhance the Riverford experience for everybody associated with the brand."