Record month for Northumberland rapeseed oil brand Borderfields

Borderfields see December sales grow 178% year-on-year as product is embraced by the public

Farmers Tim Bradshaw, Jon Hammond and Colin Bower, who are shareholders in Borderfields
Farmers Tim Bradshaw, Jon Hammond and Colin Bower, who are shareholders in Borderfields

A rapeseed oil brand established 10 years ago by a group of farmers in Northumberland and Berwickshire has enjoyed a month of record-breaking sales.

In December 2014, Borderfields saw sales grow 178% compared to the previous year, reflecting a consumer shift towards what many now see as a healthier alternative to olive oil.

The business’ parent company, Hammond Food Oils, likewise experienced a record month, hitting sales of £378,000, compared to £136,000 in 2013.

The figures represent the sustained growth of the company, which was set up to introduce British cold pressed rapeseed oil to the market in 2005.

Almost 10 years on, the product has reached the masses, becoming a kitchen essential for many households up and down the country, championed by some of the country’s top chefs including the North East’s Kenny Atkinson.

According to the latest oil category report from The Grocer, the rapeseed oil industry as a whole is now worth £14.3m, with last year seeing a 43% increase in consumer spend on the product, compared to 2013. The report also described the oil as ‘becoming increasingly mainstream and a real threat to olive oil’s positioning’.

The Borderfields variety of oil seed rape continues to be grown locally on farmland at Belford on the Northumbrian coast and at Coldstream, just north of the Scottish border.

It is currently stocked in 2400 outlets nationwide – a number which is continually growing, with store numbers up by 40% compared to the previous year.

Most recently, Booths has joined the list of Borderfields retailers, which includes Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda.

This year also saw the company introduce a new range of infusion oils in several supermarkets, as well as the UK’s first cold pressed rapeseed stir-fry oil in Asda.

Ben Guy, managing director at Borderfields, said: “2014 was a big year for us; we doubled production and are feeling proud that cold pressed rapeseed oil has moved away from being a niche oil, to becoming a mainstream, everyday choice.

“It’s not just a huge success for Borderfields, but the entire rapeseed industry and the British farmers that are meeting the increased demand.

“With half the saturated fat of olive oil, its Britishness, great taste and versatility, Borderfields has a wide appeal.

“Looking ahead we anticipate a similar growth curve for 2015. This is something we are preparing for and we have a few new surprises up our sleeve too.”

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