Tag Archives: business

Berry Gardens aims to double business

Berry Gardens chief executive Jacqui Green has revealed that the soft- and stonefruit cooperative plans to double its turnover to £700 million by the mid-2020s.

Her comments came during a discussion of the business and the overall industry with FJP editor Michael Barker at the FPJ Live event in Coventry last week. The expansion, which comes along with previously announced plans for new and improved production facilities, is part of the company’s PICK initiative, which stands for People; Innovation; Collaboration and Knowledge.

“We’ve got some really ambitious growth plans, and maybe Brexit might have a big influence on it, but we’re looking to double the size of the business by the mid-2020s,” said Jacqui. “We’d [previously]looked at the future and it wasn’t comfortable. A lot of growth has been grower-driven.”

She added that thanks to their healthy eating message, berries had the potential to compete with unhealthy confectionery and snacks and that this was where she saw most future growth in consumption coming from.

Photo Caption: Jacqui Green speaking at FPJ Live

Photo Credit: Richard Crowhurst

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Produce Investments loses contract

Press reports suggest that major potato supplier Produce Investments, which owns Greenvale AP, Swancote Foods and The Jersey Royal Company, has lost one of its key contracts.

According to Food Manufacture, the unnamed customer plans to implement a ‘single supplier strategy’ and so Produce Investments will not be offered a new contract when its existing one expires next August, with product volume expected to be gradually phased over three years from that date.

A spokesman for Produce Investments said, “While naturally disappointed with the outcome of this decision, this is part of the ordinary course of business in the sector in which the company operates. The board will continue to work hard to drive new business and mitigate over time any negative impact this decision may have on the company’s operations.”

The news came just days before new Greenvale managing director Andy Clarkson, who has been promoted from customer operations director, was due to address the FPJ Live conference in Coventry. On his appointment, Mr Clarkson commented, “I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue the development of the Greenvale business. We have a great team internally and externally and I am very much looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

Last month Produce Investments accepted a £52.95 million takeover from Jersey-based investment company Bidco, which will delist the group from the stock market.

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Food-to-go outperforms groceries sector

According to the latest sales insights from IGD, the UK’s food-to-go sector is set to grow at twice the rate of overall grocery retail, increasing to £22.8 billion by 2023, up from £17.8 billion this year.

Gavin Rothwell, Head of Food-to-Go at IGD, says: “The food-to-go market remains a strong growth opportunity that continues to provide a great source of inspiration and innovation. We’re forecasting solid growth across each of the five segments, but this will become harder to come by for operators, retailers and suppliers amid an increasingly competitive landscape. But while growth will slow, we’re expecting it to remain strong as more consumers buy food-to-go more often and as more operators target different types of locations and missions.”

He added, “Across food-to-go, collaboration between partners with the same values and mutually beneficial propositions, have been in the ascendance. Crussh and Sainsbury’s, M&S and Wasabi are two high profile collaborations, but there are already many more underway and we expect significant development here. Larger retail stores undergoing remodelling in particular offer some great opportunities for collaborations between retailers and food-to-go partners.”

The sector’s ability to evolve with changing consumer demands in health and wellness and around sustainability is increasingly critical to its success he added: “The best food-to-go operators are highly attuned to the wider mindset of their shoppers. They have responded to shape their wider propositions accordingly. Increasingly this will become expected by food-to-go consumers, and those that don’t keep up will stand out.”

Photo Caption: By continuing to adapt, the food-to-go sector will continue to grow says IGD.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The post Food-to-go outperforms groceries sector appeared first on Hort News on 6 September 2018.

Albert Bartlett celebrates birthday with packaging revamp

Potato supplier Albert Bartlett is to celebrate its 70thanniversary with a new ‘retro’ packaging design for its Rooster potato range and a customer competition featuring an exclusive dinner cooked by Chef Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche in London.

Albert Bartlett & Sons (Airdrie) Ltd, was founded by Albert Bartlett in 1948 when he moved to Coatbridge from Clydeside and invested in £30 in an old water boiler and cast iron bath to set up a beetroot boiling operation. In 1957 the company moved to Airdrie, and instigated a number of notable ‘firsts,’ including the first pre-packed carrots and the launch of the original ‘Scotty Brand’.

In 1978 the company began to supply fresh carrots, onions and potatoes to various supermarkets, with further evolution coming in 2007 when the potato and carrot operations were split into separate companies. Today Albert Bartlett supplies a range of fresh, prepared and frozen potato products from sites across the UK.

Albert Bartlett head of marketing Michael Jarvis says, “Albert Bartlett remains a family-run company and we are delighted with the manner in which it has grown from selling beetroot to the local market to be a leading supplier of fresh and frozen potatoes. As we now diversify into chilled potato products in our seventieth year, we look forward to continued success. We believe Albert would be very proud.”

Photo Caption: Winners of the anniversary competition on bags of Rooster potatoes will enjoy dinner at Le Gavroche in London.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The post Albert Bartlett celebrates birthday with packaging revamp appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.

Bayer preparing for thousands of Roundup lawsuits

Following the successful lawsuit against Monsanto in California in August in which a jury ruled that a former groundskeeper’s cancer was caused by Roundup, and that the company knowingly withheld information about the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, industry analysts are warning that Bayer is now bracing itself for thousands of future claims.

German-based acquired Monsanto earlier this year for $63 billion and according to Reuters, the company faces years of legal activity with some 8,000 lawsuits currently being brought against Monsanto, much higher than the 5,200 cases previously disclosed by Bayer in June.

“The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” Bayer’s chief executive Werner Baumann admitted to analysts in a conference call.

The lawsuits are also pulling in food manufacturers, with General Mills having to remove a claim about the use of ‘100% natural whole grain oats’ in its Nature Valley brand cereal bars.

Photo Caption: Bayer could face years of legal action in the United States after its acquisition of Roundup manufacturer Monsanto

Photo Credit: Flickr

The post Bayer preparing for thousands of Roundup lawsuits appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.

Sainsbury’s and Asda could have to sell up to 300 stores

Despite consistent reassurances by Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe that there will be no store closures or job losses as a result of the proposed merger between his company and rival supermarket chain Asda, new analysis by The Times suggests that competition watchdogs could demand that as many as 300 stores are sold off if the deal is given the go ahead.

The analysis is said to have used the same modelling techniques which are likely to be employed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) when considering such a deal, and also revealed that at around half of the 300 locations identified, Tesco or Morrisons may not wish to buy one of the former Asda or Sainsbury’s stores.

The news will come as a blow to Sainsbury’s which had already been accused of offering “Mickey Mouse figures” about the merger by MP Neil Parish, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Last week the CMA confirmed that its formal investigation into the merger has begun. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said, “We will carry out a thorough investigation to find out if this merger could lead to higher prices or a worse quality of service for shoppers and will not allow it to go ahead unless any concerns we find are fully dealt with.” In May an initial estimate by the BBC suggested that 73 stores may have to be sold to get the deal approved.

Photo Credit: Flickr

The post Sainsbury’s and Asda could have to sell up to 300 stores appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.

Rijk Zwaan highlights potential of snack vegetables

Healthy snacking is becoming increasingly popular around the world and Rijk Zwaan believes that it can offer a number of innovative options to the snack vegetable market.

Among the lines that the company will be highlighting at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica event in September are snack tomatoes in a variety of colours, Silky Pink tomatoes and its One-bite cucumber.

As well as red, orange and yellow tomatoes in different sizes, it is also offering pear-shaped snack tomatoes, light-green or bicolour mini cucumbers and mini bell peppers in a variety of colours. According to the company, at just 5 centimetres long, its One-bite mini cucumber is ‘truly unique.’

The Silky Pink cocktail tomato is the latest in the company’s range, with a cherry and beefsteak version promised in the future. In a press release, Rijk Zwaan added, “The snack vegetable offering also includes robust yet appealing packaging concepts that are ideal for online retail in Asia.

“Guided by [our]motto of ‘Sharing a healthy future’, Rijk Zwaan is committed to working together to further develop the market for fresh vegetables.”

Photo Caption: Rijk Zwaan believes that the snack vegetable market is set to grow

Photo Credit: Rijk Zwaan

The post Rijk Zwaan highlights potential of snack vegetables appeared first on Hort News on 20 August 2018.

Effects of heat wave on farming getting serious

As the UK enters a cooler period over the coming weekend, there are warnings that the situation for farmers is now becoming serious.

Rob Clayton of AHDB told the BBC’sWake up To Moneyprogramme: “This year growers have had the Beast from the East, then they’ve had it so hot and so dry this summer.” This means that reduced yields, coupled with a 3 per cent reduction in the planted area will reduce crop availability. “Our options are limited. It means prices are going to be a little bit higher right the way through until next spring,” he added.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen, shortages of vegetables have increased food price inflation to 1.6 per cent in July, compared to 1.2 per cent in May and June. The average price of a head of broccoli is around 25 per cent higher than this time last year, while carrots are 8.3 per cent more expensive in supermarkets. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC says that, “The hot, dry conditions we have seen … mean the pressure on prices will continue for some time to come.”

At the same time, Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association has called on retailers to work with growers during the continued dry weather. “There will certainly be less production and higher costs for growers and this will continue to affect winter crops as well as those planted in the spring,” he stressed. “At the moment it is too difficult to make predictions about where we will be in four month’s time. It is impossible to predict what will happen next year and Brexit adds more uncertainty for producers.”

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union, told the broadcaster, “The situation on the ground is hugely challenging across all sectors. There could be serious concerns for many farmers if this extended spell of warmer, drier weather continues. This unprecedented spell of weather really should be a wake-up call for us all. It’s a timely reminder that we shouldn’t take food production for granted.”

The post Effects of heat wave on farming getting serious appeared first on Hort News on 9 August 2018.

Scottish soft fruit growers say produce being wasted due to lack of pickers

Scottish soft fruit growers in Perthshire and Angus are seeing perfectly good produce left behind on bushes due to a shortage of pickers, just as demand peaks during one of the UK’s hottest summers in forty years.

As well as the unprecedented demand, the weather has lead to high yields of fruit which is ripening extremely quickly. These factors, when added to the ongoing labour crisis has created perfect storm which has seen fruit go to waste.

General Manager of Angus Soft Fruits, William Houston, told The Courierthat most producers were “just about” coping, but said that most fields weren’t getting a final pick over to clear up any last fruit.

“The other big issue is that the standard of workers from Eastern Europe isn’t as good as it used to be,” he added. “If we had the same standard as even two years ago they’d all be relishing the busyness, working their guts out picking huge volumes of fruit and everyone would be happy. But there is a huge difference between the best workers who can pick 20kgs an hour and the worst at only 8kg an hour.”

Peter Marshall Fruit at Alyth said it had left 15 tonnes of strawberries and five tonnes of raspberries to rot last week because of a combination of too few pickers and an unusually long period of sunshine which meant the fruit ripened quickly. “The fruit is ripening so fast, by the time the pickers get to the end of a drill they need to start all over again,” commented the firm’s Meg Marshall.

Photo Credit: Claudette Gallant / Public Domain Pictures

The post Scottish soft fruit growers say produce being wasted due to lack of pickers appeared first on Hort News on 18 July 2018.

Syngenta launches Saltro fungicide seed treatment globally

Global ag. chem. company Syngenta has announced the global launch of a new SDHI-based fungicide seed treatment, with a view to getting the first approvals in international markets next year.

SALTRO™, which contains the novel active ingredient ADEPIDYN™, will initially be marked for the control of blackleg in canola (oilseed rape); Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soybeans and Bakanae in rice, but following initial planned registrations in the United States, Canada and Australia, use of the chemical could be expanded to other crops and diseases.

Ioana Tudor, Global Head of Syngenta Seedcare, said, “We are excited to be adding SALTRO™ to our broad seed treatment portfolio. It will offer growers even more choices to control early seedling diseases to an unmatched level, by ensuring stand uniformity with strong and healthy plant growth right from the start.”

Photo Credit: Syngenta

The post Syngenta launches Saltro fungicide seed treatment globally appeared first on Hort News on 7 June 2018.