Former rugby star is on a mission - ‘Farmers want to feel valued and appreciated’

A rugby legend turned ‘MasterChef’ is on a mission to make the food industry fairer for farmers.

By Joanne Knox
Monday, 4th April 2022, 1:21 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 1:36 pm

Former England captain, Phil Vickery, is going back to his rural roots and teaming up with ethical online food retailer, 44 Foods, to push for a fairer industry.

Phil, who retired from rugby 12 years ago, grew up on his family’s dairy farm in north Cornwall, so farming is very much in his blood.

Indeed, before embarking on his professional sporting career, Phil’s childhood ambition was to have ‘the best dairy herd in the South West’.

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Former rugby star Phil Vickery

It’s this dedication to raising and nurturing quality ingredients that is the driving force behind this new partnership.

The former Celebrity MasterChef winner believes farmers and producers should be paid fairly and that consumers should be more aware of where food comes from.

Ultimately, ‘consumers need to understand that behind each ingredient is a person putting in hours, days and even months of hard work’, Phil explained.
“Growing up on my family farm had a profound effect on me in lots of ways,” he commented.

“Being a farmer’s son, I saw that relentless, never give up spirit, and my dad being constantly on the go, constantly looking to improve so that he could produce the very best quality ingredients.

“That’s something that had a huge impact on all aspects of my life, including my sporting career.
“We’ve all become so used to throwing ingredients in the supermarket trolley without much thought for the work that’s gone on behind the scenes to get it there.

Farming is incredibly hard work, and it’s important that people have a better understanding of the commitment and the time that it takes to produce our food.

“We need to realise that food should never be a cheap, throwaway commodity.

“Coming from a farming family, I know better than most that farmers just want to feel valued and appreciated and a big part of that is being paid fairly.”

Working directly with producers and farmers up and down the UK, including in Phil’s native Cornwall, 44 Foods acts like a local farm shop on a national scale, giving customers the option to shop fresh, seasonal, ethical produce, direct from the farm to their doorstep.

Best of all, producers set their own prices meaning that everything sold through the site is priced at a level that accurately reflects the real costs of production.

Phil continued: “That’s why I’m so excited to be working with the 44 Foods team, because they understand that growing top quality food takes time and effort and because they are committed to making sure that producers are not only treated fairly, but paid fairly too.”

Hannah Anderson, Managing Director of 44 Foods, stated: “From his farming background to his time on Celebrity MasterChef, Phil’s passion for good quality, ethically produced food is so clear, we just knew that he’d be a great fit for 44 Foods.
“Phil is just as committed to fixing our broken food industry as we are and we’re delighted to be partnering with him to make things fairer for producers up and down the country.”
As part of the partnership, Phil will be launching a range of bundles, based around his winning MasterChef menu.

Customers will be able to choose from Phil’s starter of scallops, black pudding and streaky bacon, lamb loin main or the chocolate and orange bread and butter pudding that got more than a famous ‘wow’ from judge Greg Wallace.
The bundles will bring together all of the ingredients you need for each course, sourced from 44 Foods partners across the UK.

Bundles will launch today (Monday) with prices starting at £17.
For more information on Phil’s partnership, or to see the full 44 Foods range, visit