At a time when many companies are being forced to downscale, Devon-based pie manufacturer Clive’s Pies is making big investments to meet the growing demand for their 100% organic, plant-based pastry products in plastic free packaging.

For the first time in its 30-year history, the vegan pie maker has moved its home to one that is four times the size, in order to increase its production capacity. Now set in a purpose-built factory in Dartmouth, amongst Devon’s rolling countryside, Clive’s is preparing for more busy months ahead as shoppers get ready for Christmas and Veganuary.

It’s been a bumper year for sales of organic food already and predictions show by the end of this year the market could be worth a total of £2.5bn[1]. So far in 2020, we’ve seen a 9.5% uplift in organic food sales[2], the largest rise in ten years and one that marks a step change for the industry. According to data published by NFU, retail sales during the first lockdown grew by 18.7%, outperforming non-organic products, which grew by 14.2%[3].

Finn Cottle, Trade Consultant, Soil Association Certification

“The organic market is now on target to surpass expectations and reach at least £2.6B sales by the end of 2020 – so £50m is spent every week on organic products.   Since the pandemic, the opportunity for organic has flourished. With consumer habits shifting and people prioritising choices that are good for the environment and biodiversity, organic stands out for its benefits of transparency and integrity. It is definitely a good time for organic brands to amplify their credentials  and through this expansion, Clives will make delicious organic pies more accessible to more people at a time when they shoppers are looking for inspiration through meal solutions”

It’s not just supermarket sales that are indicating a change in the consumer appetite for organic. Since the pandemic broke out, the market share for organic food bought online has rocketed by a whopping 13%, which is up by 7.4% pre-covid4.

Managing Director for Clive’s, Esther Pearson said:

“It’s been a challenging year for us all, but one good thing to come out of all this, is a renewed love of fresh, healthy, honest food. Food that can be traced back to its source, from companies that tell customers exactly what they’re eating. Our recent move will allow us to meet the growing demand from our customers and reach out to a wider network of retailers who want to benefit from this market surge.”

Clive’s large-scale investment in the new bakery doesn’t just mean a physical step up in their production capacity, its also enabling a step up in foods standards as the business heads towards BRC accreditation.

The move has also gained the support of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, South Hams District Council, Devon and Cornwall Business Council and Food Drink Devon. This support includes £150,000 worth of funding to expand to reach new markets by creating productivity savings, maintain organic status and continue to compete on price commercially. On a local level, Clive’s have brought 45 jobs to the area, at a time when unemployment rates nationally have risen by more than 4% in the last few months alone.