Soaring demand for home delivery during the pandemic saw sales at upmarket veg box provider Riverford Organic spike by 45%, taking revenues past £100m.

Sales at the Devon-based company rose from £75.7m to £109.6m in the 52 weeks to 30 April 2021, Companies House accounts revealed, as DTC demand spiked.

Profit before tax hit a record level of £9.6m, swinging back to the black after a loss of £1.5m in the prior year, which was hampered by one-off charges related to the exit of its franchisee model.

The bumper profits mean Riverford staff received a 15% profit share, equivalent to £3.8k per person.

Chief executive Rob Haward said: “Our growth during the pandemic has predominantly been driven by existing customers buying more frequently.

“As the lockdown pressures has eased, we have seen our sales fall from current level for a period of time to settle to a new level. I expect the health, ethics and environment drivers that were strong before the pandemic to continue to fuel our future growth.”

During the period covered by the latest accounts, Riverford restricted its offer to its core veg boxes and a stripped-back range of seasonal ‘stars’ to protect availability for existing customers and limit growth to avoid further strain on its production.

Meanwhile, prices paid to Riverford’s growers and farmers are scheduled to increase by 5% this season to allow them to cover their own cost of labour increases and reinvest in their farms.

During the year Riverford launched a £1.8m ‘fund for the planet’ as part of a continual annual investment in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises.

So far these investments have included the largest on-roof solar panel array in the South West, electrifying its van fleet with a goal to be 100% electric by 2025, an ongoing investment into home compostable packaging and new refrigeration systems to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.

Riverford has also launched a major agroforestry trial on organic farmland in Devon and begun a native tree planting programme and wildlife surveys as part of its biodiversity action plan.