Fifteen years ago we lived in relatively blissful ignorance about the origins of our Sunday roast. Not any more. It's almost impossible to switch on the TV or open a newspaper without being confronted by a frothing cow, smouldering sheep or GM vegetable. 'People really want to know the story behind what they're eating,' explains Bob Kennard of Graig Farm Organics, which began life in 1988, 'and we can give that in bucket-loads.'
Operating from a 17th-century farmhouse on the edge of Radnor Forest in Wales, husband and wife Bob and Carolyn decided to give their business a 21st-century edge with the launch of their web site, www.graigfarm.co.uk. Initially created in-house in July 1997, it was the addition of the online shop, designed by Team Media, in May 2000 that turned the site into a profitable venture. Visited by around 250 people daily, it now accounts for a third of the company's mail orders, which have anyway increased by 20%. Kennard estimates that it has added 10% to an overall turnover of pounds 1 million. The site has also recently won the regional heats of the DTI-backed annual e-commerce awards for small businesses.
In keeping with the Kennards' philosophy, the site offers a great deal more than high-quality organic food, booze, skincare products, woollens and compost. Customers can also learn about organic farming, find out how and where the animals were raised and even meet the farmers. Says Bob Kennard: 'The web site provides the opportunity to read the 'how and why' behind the company, and has definitely proved its worth.'