Abel & Cole https://abelandcole.co.uk began as a doorstep potato delivery service in south London, by City University alumna Keith Abel, after failing his bar exams in 1988.
The story goes that he visited a potato farm and was so concerned about the amount of pesticide sprayed on the crop, that he converted to organic food.
By 2007, the company was valued at almost £40m and a stake in the company was sold to the Phoenix private equity firm. There were disastrous losses of £27m in 2010 and control passed to Lloyds Banking Group, in a debt for equity swap. Keith Abel bought back into the company and turned it around.
In 2011, Abel & Cole made a pretax profit of £2.5m on sales of £9.3m and had underlying profits of £4.6m between August 2011 and August 2012. Around October of that year, Abel & Cole was sold to the William Jackson Food Group., a family-owned company based in Hull, for more than 185 years. William Jackson Food Group owns foodservice company Wellocks, as well as the Belazu brand.
Since 2016, Hannah Shipton has been Managing Director of Abel & Cole. She joined the company in 2006. Hannah led the customer services team, ran sales and marketing and was Deputy Managing Director, before moving into the top position.
Organic strawberries, Yeo Valley organic yogurt, organic beef mince delivered 25/05/20. The strawberries are a regular order in summer, but not weekly. Ditto chicken wings, which are the best, consistently.
We went organic in 2012, after finding 11% water, two additives and glucose syrup, in plain pork chops, at Tesco. The ingredient list was on the inside of the pack, on the reverse of the front label. Had we been able to see the ingredients, we simply wouldn’t have bought it.
At first, we trawled Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrisons, Lidl and Waitrose, but weren’t able to buy much. Since 2012, supermarkets in my town have expanded their ranges. At the time, we had to cast around. Ocado, Abel and Cole, Riverford and Waitrose deliveries became lifesavers.
Abel & Cole has had really good customer service. Exceptional, in fact. After being assured that Brexit wouldn’t impact deliveries and that only pantry items were selling fast, the wheels came off. Our regular order of milk was changed and we haven’t had a single egg since 16th March.
At the moment, it’s not worth trying to order eggs. Vegetables are mostly boxes only and unlike Riverford, there isn’t a no potatoes box. All milk comes from just one farm in Wiltshire.
Since purchase by the William Jackson Food Group, Abel & Cole has seemed to consolidate suppliers. Much of the Abel & Cole range comes from Daylesford Farm https://www.daylesford.com/ which belongs to Lady Bamford, wife of pro-Brexit JCB boss, Lord Bamford. Though the quality is excellent (they supply Claridge’s) many Remainers boycott the company. Other suppliers include Peelham Farm https://www.peelham.co.uk/ and Eversfield Organic both of which sell direct to the public. https://www.eversfieldorganic.co.uk It might be worth comparing prices. Do bear in mind, that Abel & Cole minimum order is just 12.50 and delivery only 1.50, when looking at prices.
Abel & Cole sells Calon Wen Welsh organic butter. Buying it from Abel & Cole, saves 50p per 250g pack on Calon Wen’s own price https://calonwen-cymru.com/product-category/organic-butter/ before delivery. It is excellent butter.
Abel & Cole vegetables can be pricey. It makes sense to buy basic organic vegetables from say ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Lidl if you are organic on a budget, and just use Abel & Cole for the more unusual vegetables.
Abel & Cole isn’t just fancy cuts of meat. You can pick up two organic chicken carcasses for 2.79, two organic chicken carcasses with necks and giblets, for 3.99 and 1kg of organic chicken wings (averagely 8-10) costs 5.25