For centuries Rhug Estate has occupied an unspoilt landscape of mountains, clover-rich pastures, fresh air and clear streams in northern Wales. It is the only estate in the UK to hold a Royal Warrant, and over the past 20 years it has become a successful organic farm, producing award-winning Aberdeen Angus beef, bison, venison, Welsh and saltmarsh lamb, chicken and, at Christmas, turkey and geese. The estate runs a thriving farm shop, café and what is believed to be the first drive-through takeaway established on a farm in the UK.
The estate’s owner, Lord Newborough, explains his guiding philosophy: ‘We have a rich heritage that provides inspiration for all that we do. Yet everything we produce at Rhug is guided by modern principles of function and sustainability. We are passionate about organic security and provenance and this is at the very heart of all our products. Wherever they may land in the world, they take a piece of Wales and the Rhug Estate with them.’
In 2020, despite the challenging conditions, Rhug Estate succeeded in launching a new natural skin and body care brand, Wild Beauty. Products are made using organic and wild-foraged ingredients from the estate, harvested by hand at their moment of greatest potency by the estate forager and his team. ‘We work very closely with our formulation team here in the UK, to identify and introduce new and exciting ingredients from the estate,’ says Lord Newborough.
Packed with these active ingredients, along with high-quality essential oils, glorious 100 per cent natural fragrances, vitamins and minerals, all the products in the collection are certified organic by the Soil Association. The packaging also went through a considered process to ensure it met the estate’s high sustainability standards.
The launch strategy focused on selling the products online. The team managed this by creating an online shop and partnering with retailers who had strong e-commerce platforms, while also identifying specialist e-tailers. Increased social media activity and a focused PR campaign helped to drive brand awareness and differentiation, and the collection was well received by customers and the industry alike. Confidence bolstered, Wild Beauty rolled-out internationally this year.
The estate itself was strongly positioned to adapt to the changing situation during 2020. For customers seeking healthy, sustainable choices with impeccable provenance, the farm shop remained popular. The Rhug Estate online shop met the increasing demand from mail order customers across the UK, and international trade continued in markets including Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and the Middle East.
Guided by its passionate commitment to sustainability, Rhug Estate produces its own energy through hydro, geothermal, solar and wind turbine projects. This runs through the shop, offices, electric vehicle charging stations and various dwellings across the estate. Never standing still, it has plans for further renewable projects and more sustainable packaging, reducing its carbon footprint and enhancing the beautiful surroundings. A remarkably unified – and determined – approach to this is evident across all the estate’s activities.
As Lord Newborough points out, it’s about ‘Knowing that we are providing a better and healthier world for future generations.’ You could not have a nobler ambition than that.