Goodness Foods History


GOODNESS FOODS evolved out of a group of born-again Christians all attending the same Jesus Fellowship Church. They wanted to start a business that, in the words of manager Ed Hunt, "would allow them to work out their ethics in a sympathetic business environment".

The company, which started out as a Northampton health food shop and swiftly developed into a 4,000 line wholesale business, is run on fairly strict business terms. It has some co-operative-type values but these stem from the teaching of Jesus on the equality of life: All 90 staff are part-owners of the business and receive the same salary and work opportunities.

This ties in to another reason Goodness is in business; to provide employment for members of the Jesus Fellowship Church, which includes therapeutic jobs for disadvantaged Church members.

The 'friendliness factor' that customers encounter with Goodness also springs from its religious base. "People perceive us to be a very ethical, honest company and straightforward to deal with," said Ed. "We are people-friendly. Customers would lose out if we didn't have that faith. They would get a poorer, less personal service.

"Whoever they are, people are important to us. We don't do the dirty on them. If we make a mistake we like to put it right," he added.

The company has felt very much at home as a health food business, finding sympathetic echoes in the trade for many of its ethical aspirations.

"I know I'm bound to be biased," Ed said, "but people do say, "you're so pleasant to do business with'." However this doesn't include converting people. "We don't try to influence our customers in their faith in any way. They just benefit from our ethics."

Born again Christians believe:
  • In a personal and life-changing experience of faith in Jesus providing forgiveness and purpose in life - being 'born again'.
  • In respect for others, the environment and oneself.
  • In a wholesome diet which is humanely produced.
Number of born again Christians in the UK: 3 million.

This article is extracted from Health Food Business, June 1995 by permission.