Sir Michael Peat, Principal Private Secretary to TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, said:
This is a very exciting day for Duchy Originals and I hope and believe for Waitrose. When The Prince of Wales created Duchy Originals 19 years ago, it was a truly unique venture. The Prince wanted to demonstrate that being sustainable and environmentally responsible and working for the long-term was compatible with making a good financial return.
In doing so, he created what he calls a virtuous circle which:
- encourages and facilitates farming and food production that protects (rather than depletes) the environment;
- supports small family farmers by providing a secure outlet for their produce;
- supports small food manufacturers by giving them business;
- provides good and safe natural food for consumers, without pesticides and second hand antibiotics; and
- generates money for charity.
Duchy Originals has been a real and lasting success. Retail sales have reached £50m a year, and so far nearly £7m has been donated to charitable causes. However, because of the commitment to distribute all profits to charity, Duchy Originals has not been able to use its profits to invest in brand expansion.
The company has reached the natural limits of its growth, and after considering a number of options The Prince has decided that developing a strong partnership with Waitrose is the best route to take Duchy Originals to the next level. What better company to go into partnership with than Waitrose?
It is the biggest employee-owned business in Europe, Duchy Originals’ largest and longest-standing customer, and a company which espouses so many of the ideals which The Prince established Duchy Originals to realise.
The Prince is delighted by the new partnership. He will continue to be closely involved and the company will continue to be run according to his principles and, most importantly, with Waitrose’s support, more money will be generated for charity.
Just to make it clear, this is not a takeover. Duchy Originals is entering into an exclusive licensing arrangement with its biggest customer. It will remain 100 per cent owned by The Prince’s Charities Foundation. This kind of licensing deal happens regularly in business and has been under consideration for some time by The Prince.
The partnership will ensure that Duchy Originals can continue to grow and thrive in years to come, and can generate even more money for charity.