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, Ocado 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 Duchy Originals brand was originally conceived in 1990 as an outlet for the organic food grown on the Prince of Wales Highgrove House estate and the first product was oaten biscuits. Products were initially sold through high-end stores such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. During the 1990s Duchy Originals products began being stocked in farm shops and independent delicatessens and expansion during the 2000s saw a selected range of Duchy Originals products becoming widely available in most major UK supermarkets, with Waitrose as the brand's largest customer. By 2008 sales of Duchy Originals had raised over £7 million cumulatively for The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation. Following the financial crisis of 2007–2008 the Duchy Originals business began making losses, amounting to around £3 million in 2009, and in September of that year it was announced that Duchy Originals had agreed an exclusive deal with Waitrose. From August 2010 products were relaunched under the Duchy Originals from Waitrose brand and the then range of around 200 lines was expanded to over 300. Waitrose invested heavily in the brand and sales doubled during the first three years of the exclusive arrangement. 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. Waitrose has an 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.
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.
In 2002 the Deeside Water Company began to produce some of its bottled mineral water, which originates from a spring on the edge of the Balmoral Castle estate, for the Duchy Originals brand. In 2010 Waitrose rebranded the product as Duchy Originals from Waitrose and in 2016 the supermarket repackaged it as part of its Waitrose One premium range.
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.
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Waitrose Duchy Organic is our flagship organic brand
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