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Riverford couple mark five years in business and eye further expansion

Husband and wife team Iain and Liz Pocklington are celebrating five years in business, running the Riverford Organic Farmers home delivery franchise across North Yorkshire, South Durham and Teesside.

The couple delivers Riverford’s organic veg and recipe boxes to more than 750 customers across the region every week.

In the last five years, Iain and Liz have trebled the number of deliveries, from 250 to more than 750 a week. They are aiming for 1,000 deliveries a week in the next two years.

The franchisees have also quadrupled turnover and taken on staff – they now employ three drivers and an administrator.

Iain, who previously worked in the building industry, said: “Delivering fresh organic veg boxes to homes has got to be one of the best jobs ever – our customers genuinely love our veg and the fact that we sow, grow and deliver to their door.”

Liz was a self-employed events manager before she and Iain made the career switch to running their Riverford franchise.

The couple’s Riverford veg vans – they now have four – are seen each week in both rural locations and busy towns like Darlington and Scarborough, delivering fresh organic produce grown at Riverford farms and by other organic farmers. In the North York Moors, customers rely on their delivery service, especially in winter.  

Iain and Liz say their sales growth reflects ambitious planning and hard work but also people’s changing ecological and health concerns. “Many people are overrun with plastic food packaging but buying a veg box means there is very little and Riverford collects the boxes for re-use and recycling,” says Iain.

“New, market leading, home compostable packaging is also being tried so that landfill waste is reduced to an absolute minimum.”

The current trend for plant-based eating has hit the spot with many millennials and students as their concerns about climate change lead them to choose more fruit and veg in their diet.

Liz said: “Riverford customers are often excellent experimental cooks and even though they don’t have lots of time they make tasty and quick meals for their families and friends.  A Riverford recipe box has everything for a healthy meal for two or three people with no further shopping required.  You can choose from meat, vegetarian and vegan recipes online.” 

Iain and Liz aim to expand deliveries to new areas within their region – they have recently started delivering in the Filey area. Iain said: “As a business, we will continue our strong ethical stance and be investing in our drivers, vehicles and sustainable technology to make sure we are fit for the future.”

He added: “Riverford is about good farming, good food, good business and with the organic food and drink market growing year on year, that’s good news for our home delivery franchise.”

Iain and Liz and their Riverford produce will be at many food and drink festivals this summer. They are also sponsoring the Carter Jonas LandAid Pedalthon on Friday 7 June, starting and ending at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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