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Riverford moves closer to packaging-free


Organic produce supplier Riverford has launched a ‘zero packaging organic veg box’, known as Box Zero.

The company has introduced the box, which includes nothing but a reusable and recyclable cardboard delivery box, in response to customer feedback, but it admits that its use will limit the range of produce it can supply.

According to the Riverford blog, the new box includes ‘no punnets, bags, nets or even bands, be they plastic, paper or rubber.’ It goes on to explain that its research suggests that paper often has a higher carbon footprint than plastic, so the company has ditched all surplus packaging.

However, it continues, ‘Lack of protection will mean no delicate leafy greens such as spinach or salad leaves (hardier greens and lettuces like Cos and Little Gems should be okay), and no cherry tomatoes or mushrooms.’

Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson also says he is slightly sceptical about whether the box will actually prove popular with consumers. “I am guessing sales will be low, but maybe you will prove me wrong,” he wrote. “We made several attempts to offer a 100 per cent UK veg box, but it never amounted to more than one per cent of box sales – until recently. It’s now doing much better at seven per cent. Perhaps acceptance is growing that ‘one planet living’ requires compromise.

“Putting perishable produce, which will be gone in a week, into a plastic punnet which will last a lifetime really should insult our souls…  suspect the greatest impact of the new box will be in forcing us to take a fresh look at the packaging in our other boxes, and to consider novel solutions previously thought too wacky to investigate.”

Photo source: Riverford