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Devon Farm Kitchen makes history with revolutionary eco approach

Monday, 19 February, 2024

Devon Farm Kitchen, the young social enterprise committed to raising funds for Rowcroft Hospice, is the first organisation in the country and across the world to operate a frozen meal delivery service using reusable ceramic crockery. With its commitment to sustainability and a 'zero landfill' ethos, Devon Farm Kitchen's innovative use of returnable and reusable ceramic plates and bowls demonstrates a pioneering approach to food packaging and eliminates plastic waste entirely.

"We are proud to be leading the way in sustainable and environment-friendly packaging for our delicious frozen meals,” said Devon Farm Kitchen’s Manager Joe Bradshaw. “While our ceramic plates and bowls may initially be more costly to us than other more conventional forms of packaging such as plastic trays, they can be re-used time and time again, so in the long run our investment pays off. The clay for our ceramics is sourced locally in Cornwall, and the outer cardboard packaging that houses each plate and bowl is 100% recyclable, carbon neutral and compostable. Our model of sustainability is a key selling point for our meals: it makes for happy customers and a greener planet!”

The sustainable operations extend beyond packaging. Devon Farm Kitchen collaborates with DCW, a food waste recycling company, ensuring that any kitchen waste finds purpose as compost or energy to power local farms and factories. Moreover, the emphasis on sourcing ingredients locally from reputable Devon suppliers minimises food miles and supports regional businesses while upholding eco and ethical standards.

"We prioritise taste, quality, and provenance in sourcing our ingredients locally, and we endeavour to continually innovate to reduce our carbon footprint," remarked Joe Bradshaw. "By excluding plastic from our packaging and recycling all waste, we aim to champion sustainable dining practices while supporting our local hospice." With all profits going to support Rowcroft Hospice in delivering specialist care to local patients with life-limiting illnesses, Devon Farm Kitchen has gone from strength to strength since the social enterprise launched in 2021: fulfilling 12,500 orders; delivering a remarkable 92,000 meals across 500 square miles of Devon; expanding their menu to include a choice of 60 dishes including vegetarian, gluten-free and small meal options; and winning numerous awards from Taste of the West and Food Drink Devon, including Best Online Retailer 2023, as well as being a finalist in Torbay’s social enterprise of the year award.

Devon Farm Kitchen also prides itself on a personalised service where the delivery driver ‘checks in’ with each customer. “Our delivery drivers provide a friendly face and a regular point of contact for our customers,” added Joe Bradshaw. “This is particularly important for those who are living alone, socially isolated, frail or vulnerable. Sometimes, our driver may be the only person that a customer will see all day, so being able to spend time chatting with them is a key part of our unique service that sets us apart from our competitors.”

Devon Farm Kitchen’s balanced meals are carefully prepared and cooked by hand in small batches from their kitchen in Torquay. Frozen for freshness, the meals aim to provide the very best in nutrition to support the health and well-being of customers. Each serving comprises quality ingredients and nutrient-dense foods that support physical health, cognitive function, energy levels, digestive health, and emotional well-being.

"We are captivating the hearts and taste buds of our local community with our convenient and easy to reheat meals,” concluded Joe Bradshaw. “It's testament to the enduring appeal of freshly produced, locally sourced meals, served on proper plates and bowls, and the growing awareness of the importance of supporting our local food producers, protecting our environment, and raising vital funds to care for patients and their loved ones in our community." 

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