Waitrose Duchy Organic
|Product type||Organic produce|
|Previous owners||Duchy Originals|
|Tagline||Good Food, Good Farming, Good Causes|
|Website||Waitrose Duchy Organic|
Waitrose Duchy Organic (formerly Duchy Originals from Waitrose and earlier simply Duchy Originals) is a brand of organic food sold mainly in Waitrose stores in the United Kingdom, and small independent stores. The brand is a partnership between Waitrose and the Duchy Originals company, a company set up by Charles, Prince of Wales in 1990 and named after the Duchy of Cornwall estates that are held in trust by the Prince of Wales.
The first product of the Duchy Originals brand, oaten biscuits, were grown on the Prince of Wales Highgrove House estate. During the 1990s Duchy Originals products were mostly stocked in farm shops and independent delicatessens. Expansion during the 2000s saw a selected range of Duchy Originals products becoming widely available in most major UK supermarkets. However, Waitrose was the brand's largest customer and in September 2009 it was announced that Duchy Originals had agreed an exclusive deal with the supermarket. From August 2010 products were relaunched under the Duchy Originals from Waitrose brand and the then range of around 200 lines has been expanded to over 300. Since then Waitrose has the exclusive licence to originate, manufacture, distribute and sell Duchy products within the UK through its stores as well as via third parties. The tradition of donating royalties to charity has continued and the Prince of Wales has continued his involvement with the brand. By 2013 the brand was selling in 30 countries including Australia and Japan. In the summer of 2015 the brand name was changed to Waitrose Duchy Organic.
The company Duchy Originals originated the Duchy Originals brand in 1990 as a premium organic food and drink brand. It also created two other brands, Duchy Selections and Duchy Collections. Duchy Selections was a range of premium free-range (but not organic) pork and fish products and mineral waters, and Duchy Collections was a range of high quality non food products. The Duchy Originals company has never sold the goods that carry the brand names, and other than the short-lived Duchy Originals Food company venture it has not manufactured them. Instead Duchy branded products have been sold and manufactured by a number of different retail companies, all of whom have paid royalties to the Duchy Originals Company.
By the end of the 1990s the brand had an annual turnover of around £1 million. This had grown to £4.86 million by 2006/7. Administrative expenses came to £3.31 million, giving an operating profit of £1.53 million. The company was badly hit by the recession in 2007 and started making a loss. For the financial year 2008/9, the company failed to make any profits and turnover dropped to £2.2 million, with an operating loss of £3.3 million, compared to the previous year's operating profit of £57,000. Fortunes improved after the 2009 Waitrose arrangement, and by 2013 annual profits were £2.8 million.
The Duchy Originals Food company
Duchy Originals' only venture into manufacturing has been the Duchy Originals Food company. This was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Duchy Originals company and it opened a factory in Launceston, Cornwall in 2006. The factory was a bakery making both sweet and savoury pastry products. The venture suffered financial problems, with the factory making a loss of £447,158 in the financial year 2006/7. In 2009 the Duchy Originals company decided to sell the bakery, with one-off costs from the sale contributing towards Duchy Originals making a loss for 2009-10.
In 2008 Duchy Originals partnered with the alternative medicine company Nelsons to produce a line of herbal remedies. This led to controversy, in which leading UK scientists said that Duchy Originals promoted its herbal remedies with scientifically unsound claims. Edzard Ernst, the UK's first professor of complementary medicine, said Duchy Originals detox products were "outright quackery". Subsequently the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency ruled that healing claims were misleading and required the company to amend an advertising campaign promoting two herbal medicines.
The company Duchy Originals Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary company of The Prince's Charities Foundation and donates to the charity from its profits. By 2013 the brand had raised £11 million from its profits for the Prince's Charities. In the same year profits from Waitrose sales gave the Prince's Charities £2.8 million increasing to £3 million in 2014. In Canada the proceeds from sales of Duchy Originals products are donated to the charities associated with The Prince's Charities Canada. By 2012 more than one million Canadian dollars were being raised annually in this manner.
The Duchy Future Farming programme
The Duchy Future Farming programme was set up in 2013 in partnership with the Soil Association to provide advice and support to UK farmers and growers in conducting research into organic farming methods. Participants are encouraged to carry out experiments in their own fields, and over 3000 farmers had been involved in this by 2015. A research fund offering up to £25,000 is also available.
- "Waitrose Duchy Organic". http://www.waitrose.com. Waitrose. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
Waitrose Duchy Organic is our flagship organic brand
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- MacRae, Fiona (15 January 2009). "The spring water that really could hold back the hands of time, according to scientists". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
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- "Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme". http://www.ecologicalland.coop. Ecological Land Co-operative. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Acton, Johnny & Sandler, Nick (2006) Duchy Originals Cookbook. London: Kyle Cathie ISBN 1-85626-653-2