Monthly Archives: July 2017

Tesco will take surplus cherries from suppliers

Having already helped suppliers sell larger than forecast quantities of strawberries, lettuce and carrots, the retailer is now taking advantage of the bumper crop of British cherries.

“Working with our suppliers we’re able to start the British cherry season two weeks earlier this year than in 2016. The abundance of cherries will be available for customers for an impressive eight weeks,” said Karen Bee, Buying Manager for stone fruit.

“The wonderful weather we’ve experienced across the UK has meant that our British cherry crop has come-on in bigger volumes than we’d forecast. Our supply partners have told us about a crop flush brought on by the bonus British sunshine. They have extra cherries from their growing sites in both Kent ‘the Garden of England’ and Herefordshire. We’ve worked with them to take their extra crop.”

So far Tesco has bought an extra 80 tonnes a week of British cherries, with larger 1 kg boxes available for £4.00. The retailer also said it aimed to have promotions on all different packs sizes to suit a variety of budgets.

Photo Credit: Tesco

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New standard for cardboard produce packaging

A new European-wide packaging standard for corrugated packaging aims to ensure standards for stackable, top quality, fit-for-purpose corrugated card.

The Common Footprint Quality (CFQ) says certified trays will deliver the protection needed by delicate fruit and vegetables, giving growers and retailers assurance that their fresh produce will arrive in store in optimum condition every time.

CFQ builds on the FEFCO Common Footprint (CF), which harmonises tabs and noses of corrugated trays throughout Europe. CF guarantees the stackability that allows growers and retailers to handle transport of fruit and vegetables efficiently; the Q promises quality and strength.

In the UK, packaging manufacturer DS Smith has said that all its packaging will meet the new standard. ‘DS Smith has been working in close collaboration with the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) on the introduction of the new Common Footprint Quality (CFQ) standard in the UK,’ the company said in a statement.

Mick Thornton, Sales and Marketing Director of DS Smith’s UK Packaging Division said: “We are proud to be a lead player in the integration of this new quality standard to the UK. Corrugated packaging is ideally suited to the fresh produce industry as it can offer the cushioning, ventilation, strength, moisture resistance and protection that growers, packers and retailers are looking for. Our customers can have the utmost confidence that their products will arrive safely at their destination and the standardisation of products will bring benefits and efficiencies to the entire supply chain.”

Photo Credit: DS Smith

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McCain Scarborough expansion approved by local council

McCain Foods has had its plans for a £100 million expansion of its potato processing facility in Scarborough recommended by the planning committee of Scarborough Borough Council.

The plans for the Eastfield site include upgrades to equipment and renewable energy generation, as well as environmental measures such as odour reduction technology and landscaping. The company, which has been on the site for almost 50 years, says that the expansion will help to secure jobs in the area.

Bill Bartlett, corporate affairs director for McCain, commented, “We are delighted at the outcome of the planning committee’s decision to recommend approval of the renewal plans for our Scarborough site. This will see over GBP100m invested into our Scarborough facility. Established in Eastfield almost 50 years ago, the McCain Foods Scarborough facility is one of the company’s most successful sites. As the largest private employer in Scarborough and partner to many suppliers and community organizations in the area, we are dedicated to our operations here.”

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Record sales for Scottish strawberries

According to press reports, ‘record quantities of Scottish strawberries are being sold this summer.’ The sentiment was backed by Michael Jarvis, head of marketing at Albert Bartlett and Scotty Brand, which last year sold nearly 4 million tonnes of the fruit, equivalent to 28 berries a minute.

Scotty Brand strawberries are grown in Perthshire by Bruce Farms. Mr Jarvis commented, “We work very closely with Bruce Farms to ensure our strawberries are tastier, fresher and keep better for longer. It’s fantastic to see customers continuing to opt for locally sourced Scottish produce, and its clear strawberries are the summer fruit of choice.”

Another major Scottish fruit grower, Angus Soft Fruits, has introduced four new AVA varieties of strawberry for this season, as well as two varieties of raspberry. Dave Griffiths, Angus Soft Fruits R&D Director & head breeder, said, “The new varieties are the result of several years of hard work by my team and we look forward to seeing these on retailer shelves this summer.”

Photo Credit: Pexels

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Sainsbury’s predicting 700% boost in strawberry sales

Supermarket Sainsbury’s has revealed that during the four months of summer, strawberries are its most popular product, outselling even milk and bread.

The retailer predicts a peak increase in strawberry sales of 700% compared to average levels, accounting for a large part of the 126,000 tonnes of the fruit sold each year in the UK. The retailer also expects to see an increase in sales of sparkling wine and has said that the pairing of Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire with the Murano strawberry.

Sainsbury’s strawberry technician Peter Czarnobaj said, “There’s much more to strawberries than meets the eye and it can take years to develop each variety. What I love about Murano is that it perfectly balances sweetness with acidity as well as having a great shape and depth of colour. We sell more strawberries than any other product for up to 16 weeks so it’s important that our customers can enjoy British-grown strawberries for as long as possible.”

The supermarket claims to offer 18 different varieties of British strawberries throughout the season including Murano, Sonata and Majestic, as well as Elsanta. Murano was first developed for Sainsbury’s in 2014 and is noted for its winning combination of flavour and vibrant colour.

Photo Credit: Sainsbury’s

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Berryworld gives away raspberries at Wimbledon

Soft fruit supplier Berryworld has sought to raise the profile of its own brand berries, which were first launched 18 months ago, by handing out around 7,500 pots of raspberries to tennis fans in the queue during the first week of Wimbledon.

Berryworld Managing Director Paul Cole said the event was aimed at raising awareness of the company’s branded offering: “We’ve done tastings at retailers, but that’s mainly been own label,” he said. “This is the biggest event we’ve done to promote our brand but we’ve got more planned. There are so many different avenues you can go down to push the name forward.”

He also said that while products such as raspberries and blueberries were unlikely to become as popular as strawberries, there was plenty of potential for growth. “They’ve got a long way to go and part of our job as marketers is getting people buying into them,” he added.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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Potato industry reacts to acrylamide regulations

The European Commission has asked for comments on proposals on ‘benchmark’ levels for acrylamide which have been published on its website.

The draft project asks for producers to apply measures to reduce levels of acrylamide in products such as chips, crisps and other potato products, as well as other baked goods and coffee. It comes after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its scientific opinion on acrylamide in food; reconfirming previous evaluations that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer.

The Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation (ETL) stressed, ‘the need of taking regional conditions in to account when assessing the necessity of certain mitigation methods. For example, the use of chemical substances to suppress sprouting has not been seen necessary since cool (winter) storage conditions prevent sprouting. Not using sprouting suppressing agents is also a measure preventing overall exposure to chemicals. Also, the change of raw material or ingredient should not lead to poor or lesser nutritional quality at the cost of lower acrylamide levels.’

In addition, the Finnish Frozen Food and Potato Association (F&P) have written that the suggested benchmark level of 750 µg/kg for potato crisps is too low and could cause problems both for Finnish potato producers and food processors. ‘The acrylamide level should stay at 1000 µg/kg for potato crisps. No health problems reported so far and the recent level is already cutting out the high acrylamide levels from production. Potato crisps are minor products and not part of daily diet,’ they said.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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New flexible training opportunities for agri-food professionals

A new AgriFood Training Partnership (AFTP) has been launched which claims to build on the three previous Advanced Training Partnerships (ATPs) in agri-food, food and pasture. These former partnerships were all funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with the primary aim of translating cutting edge research into applied industry expertise within the agri-food sector. Since 2012, they have delivered short course training and postgraduate qualifications to over 1,500 individuals from more than 700 businesses.

The new AFTP combines skills and knowledge from six different university partners and is collectively offering more than 150 courses and workshops in all areas of agricultural production, environmental protection, food manufacture and scientific research.

Carol Wagstaff, Professor in Crop Quality for Health and Director of the AFTP commented, “We are delighted to be in the privileged position of receiving a further £1.5 million from BBSRC to enable unification of the AFTP and expansion into new markets both at home and overseas. In an era of climate change, food insecurity and an ever growing population, the AFTP is helping the industry’s best talent to deepen their knowledge, advance their skills and progress their careers through flexible training opportunities and continuing professional development.”

Photo Credit: BBSRC

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