Ethical Fruit Company

Wednesday 10 October 2012, by Charles Lee, Ivy Wang, XuMiao

4 inspired

Why do you select this company.

In recent years, news was reported about numerous poison food incidents such as melamine milk powder, industry gelatin yogurt, contaminated steamed bread and chemical watermelon…etc. The news described that the merchants increase the profit by growing the plants with heavy chemical pesticides and fertilizer. There were some shocking reports depicted that some of the merchants in china even dyed the fish, meat and plants so the product looks matured, juicy and fresh. Many people have begun to aware of food safety, and noticed that many foods are cheap because of containing unnatural incidents. The consumers started to try the organic food for healthy concerns.

Although the concept of eating organic food has been published for many years as people noticed the food safety problem, the organic food is still not the dominant in the market. The reasons for merchants are because that the high cost to grow the organic food and weaken organic food competitiveness with high purchasing price.

Based on these facts, we started to look for a food company who’s still willing to produce real organic food, and meanwhile, they are getting profit. We found Ethical Fruit Company from the list of 2012 World’s most ethical companies reported by ETHISPHERE. After survey, we found the company philosophy and the way they doing business ethically really inspires us.

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

Ethical Fruit Company is one of the biggest organic fruit supply in UK market. They have 2 subsidiaries, Organic Farm Foods Limited and Ethical Food Company Limited; they sell approximately 2 million cases of organic fruit a year to a range of customers across the UK. In the last 4 years they ventured into farming themselves and now produce 500 tons of apples and pears every year. Their profit in 2011 is £431,905.

The managing director, Adam Wakeley, proposed organic agriculture based on health, ecology, fairness and care. The company stands ethical in the operation of every process.

Sourcing
They directly source qualified growers and do auditing procedures in many aspects like soil, ecology, and environment and so on. Till now they have qualified 80 growers in 20 countries.

Growing
In UK, they entrust farms provided by Sheepdrove Organic Fruit Ltd, who are pioneering and market leaders. They adopt a number of disease resistant varieties, and their soils are certified by Soil Association of Ethical Trade.
They promise to grow pure, natural food full of traditional flavor and all produced without synthetic pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilizers.

Packing
They exclusively entrust a professional packer, Green Fresh packer to make sure the packing and distribution processes are natural and environment friendly.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

According to the interview made by soil association, Adam Wakeley, The managing director mentioned that the organic message has been diluted over the last few years to merely represent pesticide free yet there are other significant benefits that organic farming delivers that the consumer is still not aware of. Many fruit companies are taking advantage of this vague concept of organic food to attract more consumers. So they have many competitors with unreal, fake organic products. However, Ethical Fruit Company adheres to their principle ethically despite the cost of the ethical fruit company is more expansive than the cost of other “organic food” competitor who grow the plants simply without the pesticide.

Another challenge is that when they faced the financial crisis as well in 2008, the customers was unwilling to buy the product because of the financial concern, so the company confronted a huge decline in their demand in 2008 and 2009. It is very hard to for the company to adhere its ethical principle.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

First, we read customers feedbacks from its facebook and the company review from soil association, UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy and sustainable food, farming and land use. We saw many ethical awards from different charity and organization such as Ethisphere, a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics and corporate social responsibility. The information suggests that it is an ethical company.

Second, it is unlikely for many companies to be ethical in difficult time. We trust this company because it won ethical awards during and after the financial crisis. Adam Wakeley, the managing director of the company said he and his colleagues faced profit decreasing during this period, because consumers unwilling to buy the products. Adam and his colleagues still have adhered their ethical principle and hence won the award from several organizations.

What inspires us about the company is that when it faces the other unreal, cheaper organic product, it still address on the real “Organic food”, produced with environmentally and animal friendly farming methods. Artificial fertilizers are banned and farmers develop fertile soil by rotating crops and using compost, manure and clover. The farmer need to ensure that no pesticide floating from the nearby farm and no chemical residue in the soil. The cost of the ethical fruit company is more expansive than the cost of other “organic food” suppliers who grow the plants simply without the pesticide.

Nevertheless, it inspires us is that this company try to influence the other grower cultivate in the same way. It cooperates with other growers as its new suppliers. It teaches and audits the organic growers what can do and what cannot do. So more farmers grow the fruit in real organic way and the company has more organic fruits for the consumers. This makes the natural resources of the earth, including the air, water, land and natural ecosystems, can be safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations through careful planting. In this way, the company turns its competitors into the cooperators..

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

After financial crisis, there has been a sales decline from 2009-2011. And it will still be a challenge in the future due to the economic conditions which undoubtedly play a part in consumer decision making. The consumer started to accustom the normal food because they cannot afford the organic products.

We think in order to maintain market share and increase profit, they need to consider following improvements.

1. Teach people what REAL organic food is and what the benefits it brings.
2. Cost-saving and direct marketing. For example, the company may find out the low-cost farms in developing countries, skip the retailers and wholesalers to sell the fruits to terminal market directly, and minimize the package.
3. Market-expanding. For instance, to explore the new market from the growers’ countries, their neighbor countries and also the new developing countries.

Bibliography

https://www.duedil.com/company/06882973/ethical-fruit-company-limited
http://www.soilassociation.org/trade/marketinformation/companyviews/articleid/1602/the-ethical-fruit-company

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1 Discussion / 2 Messages

  • Ethical Fruit Company 27 February 2013 at 15:06 , by dgaguero

    In recent days, we know many incidents pre-cooked food, for example the case of "La Sirena" and IKEA Spain, where he found a certain percentage of horse meat in their products, when labeled as 100% beef.
    A day we will not know or what we eat, therefore, I think that initiatives such as organic food is great, but maybe if it’s true that not everyone can access this type of food due to price, which is usually higher.
    I would like if we can not opt for this type of food, at least we are properly informed of what we are consuming. And those who commit fraud on labels food be penalized for misleading the consumer.
    These initiatives ecological and ethical company, are great for promoting health, a healthy lifestyle, and also provide opportunities for local small farmers.

    • Ethical Fruit Company 6 March 2013 at 10:17 , by Adrià Rius

      I agree with you, nowadays some companies are just looking for their benefit, and the ones who at the end are affected are the costumers, as you have said in Spain some case have been very famous like the one of the horse meat in 100% beef packages,
      What I want to add to your post is that I think that is important to say that this organic companies are environmental friendly, because they don’t use pesticides or another chemical products, so at the end this helps to develop healthier products, that maybe aren’t as big as the others, and their price is high too, but at the end I think that is a money good wasted.

Location: Worcestershire (UK)

Sector: Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Official website: http://www.ethicalfruitcompany.co.uk/

Key figures:

Annual avenue in 2011 £2,681,638
Gross profit in 2011 £431,905

Nbr. visits: 1765

Nbr. inspires: 4