Riverford Organics

On a level playing field

Sir, I’m convinced most people are happy to pay a fair price: what it costs to make something with due respect for people and the environment, plus a modest profit. But how can a bank offer you £150 to open an account, a veg box supplier offer your fourth box free, a supermarket £20 off your first delivery? In most cases, it’s by making someone else pay for it and it’s the model most subscription businesses work to.

Two years ago I declared I’d rather go bust than continue abusing the trust of our loyal customers, and from now on we’ll no longer offer anything to new customers we don’t offer to existing ones. In an industry racing to the bottom, I believe it’s a quiet revolution.

Guy Watson, founder, Riverford Organic Farmers

Join the Pledge for change

Sir, With 90% of adults in the UK saying they would like to see a broader range of body shapes in advertising and media, it is time to take action. Unilever is proud to have signed up last week to support the Be Real Body Image Pledge across all of its brands, with Dove - as founding partner of the Be Real campaign - taking the lead to redefine how beauty is portrayed and celebrated.

Now we are calling on other organisations and businesses to join us and become part of the Be Real Body Image Pledge to bring a lasting cultural and behavioural change.

The Pledge is a voluntary set of principles organisations and businesses can sign up to as this isn’t change that comes from one organisation, but through the efforts of many. We want to encourage the advertising, fashion, music and media industries to pledge to reflect real and diverse body images in their communications, encouraging healthy body image among the UK public.

We hope to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety - a belief that Dove has been living by for many years. The brand’s commitment to the Pledge is the ­latest step in its support of the Be Real campaign, a national initiative to help improve body confidence across the UK.

Mark Bleathman, vice president personal care, Unilever UK & Ireland

After Marmitegate

Sir, What the article ‘Marmitegate prompts own-label yeast extract surge’ (thegrocer.co.uk, 18 November) doesn’t mention is that own-label yeast extract sales in total are less than 10% of those of Marmite by value.

Even a 25% increase for own label would not have made much impression on one of the most iconic food brands. In fact, across the top nine supermarkets over the four weeks since the “incident”, IRI data shows Marmite sales up by 40% versus a year ago whereas own label, from a tiny base, has grown by just 8%.

So while the general points about some consumers’­­ attitudes to brands are valid, I think Marmite is an inappropriate example to pick.

Martin Wood, IRI, via thegrocer.co.uk