Organic growers are being invited to supply growing 'vegbox' home delivery scheme Riverford Organic Vegetables and its franchise operations.

Owner Guy Watson said that he was already giving supermarkets a run for their money, but claimed that there were plenty of opportunities to grow the business by widening the scope and range of the offer.

From his base in Devon, he has launched regional hubs in Northallerton, Yorkshire, and also in Peterborough - both of which he claims are doing better than expected.

He said: "When you consider the public obsession with food miles, using a regional distributor with a packhouse on farm is the right way to do it." Watson is now actively looking for growers in Kent, Suffolk, the west Midlands and the northwest.

He turns to imports at some times of the year - supplying French new potatoes, for instance, before English Charlottes are available - and is now turning to organic meat and dairy.

However, fruit and vegetables would always be the main part of the business, he reckoned. "People buy from us instead of supermarkets, but we still have to deliver on packaging, provenance and flavour."

They wanted produce that was great-­tasting ­rather than great-looking, Watson added. "Many of our ­customers are 'light green' consumers and are not into hardcore boxes with limited seasonal produce. They are developing an interest in issues such as organic production, provenance and freshness."

Watson turned to seasonal 'vegboxes'13 years ago and has built a £30m business out of it. One organic vegetable in ten is now sold by him in the UK, he claims.

There has been interest from abroad, where growers are interested in Riverford's internet ordering service and its distribution model.