greengrocer Oliver Kay Produce has announced that it is working with local
company Re-Source to reduce food waste and is also working hard to reduce
plastic food packaging.
The company claims it is
the first wholesale greengrocer to swap from overwrapped polystyrene trays to
compostable ‘Bagass Trays’ made from sugarcane pulp and supplied by Thompson
Packaging. All plastic wrap now comes from 100 per cent recycled sources and is
looking for a suitable compostable-substitute.
“We looked at moving to biodegradable
packaging, but realised that to really make a difference, all of the packaging
needed to be compostable,” explained Paul Leyland, Oliver Kay’s Commercial
& Sustainability Director. Other sustainability improvements include
replacing the plastic netting traditionally used for items such as citrus to
one made from certified beech wood fibre.
Oliver Kay delivers to
approximately 3,500 catering establishments six days a week. “A business of
this type and size obviously generates an amount of waste in the form of
packaging and food waste,” added Paul. “We are buying roughly 800 nets of
lemons each day, 320 trays of chillies each day, and through our strict quality
standards and prep department we are producing approximately 2.5 tonnes of food
waste each day.”
Working with Re-Source the
business has introduced a screw press system to remove water from left over
fruit and vegetable waste, reducing the total density of the waste by 90 per
cent. This is then composted, and taken back for use by the farmers who supply
The Covent Garden Tenants’
Association (CGTA), which represents wholesalers based in the market, has begun
a legal appeal at the High Court to prevent the redevelopment of New Covent
Garden Market, which has been ongoing for some time.
Speaking to reporters, CGTA
chairman Gary Marshall, who is also managing director of wholesaler Bevington
Salads, said that the relationship between the market and its traders was at an
CGTA, which claims to
represent around 90 per cent of the traders at New Covent Garden, said the move
came as a last resort due to the “unwillingness” of the Covent Garden Market
Authority (CGMA) and its development partners Vinci UK and St. Modwen
(VSM) to “cooperate, consult and disclose information.” A particular
flash-point has been the Southern Vehicle Car Park, which was closed off at the
start of October; something which CGTA says has severely disrupted trading
activity in the market as customers have been unable to park.
Gary Marshall said, “What
they are considering building is simply not fit for purpose. Customers are
openly writing to us to say they might have to go elsewhere because they can’t
operate effectively from NCGM,” revealed Marshall. “If traders at NCGM can’t do
the job, someone from New Spitalfields or Western will. It’s put business
continuity at great risk.”
GGMA CEO Daniel Tomkinson
said, “We regret that some of our valued tenants have seen fit to take this
action, and we hope to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. In the
meantime, we will continue work on the much-needed development of the Fruit and
Birmingham’s new integrated wholesale market, which is one of the largest in Europe, has been officially opened at a launch event on Friday 5 October.
The event was billed as a celebration of the market’s 850-year history, and saw traders joined in the new environment by a steel band, Chinese lion dance and television crew. Mark Tate, chairman of the Birmingham Wholesale Fresh Produce Association, told those at the event: “I’d like to thank all the traders who supported my decisions throughout the process, our belief has driven us to this magnificent building today. I have a request that goes out to all the people of Birmingham and the Midlands, we need your support, to keep buying our fruit and vegetables, and meat and fish from the wholesale market.”
Chris Taplee, of wholesaler Mack Birmingham, commented, “This place is magnificent, I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m now I’m looking forward to the next 30. Trade has picked up, we’re getting people from Wolverhampton now; someone from Liverpool came the other day. It’s the shot in the arm we needed.”
The new location on Nobel Way in Witton is how to almost 90 traders, including those selling meat poultry and fish as well as fresh produce, based around a large central covered avenue, together with warehouses, a cafe and management offices.
Family owned fresh produce wholesaler Tomson (Buxton) Ltd has been awarded a grant of £16,724 of Peak LEADER Rural Grant funding in order to expand one of its warehouses.
The firm was established 30 years ago when former PE teacher Deb Thompson and her husband opened a small grocery shop. Today the company employs 31 staff across three warehouses and buys food from growers across the UK, which is supplied to schools, business, hotels and restaurants in the Peak District and further afield.
Ms Thompson said, “We’ve wanted to extend one of our warehouses for a while but it’s a big project that would cost a lot of money so I’m really pleased we heard about these grants to help us. Within the extension is a second loading bay so we can send and receive deliveries at the same time and we have more space to move stock around. We’ve also been able to take on two new members of staff as a result and we’re looking to employ one more.”
According to reports, some wholesalers have expressed concern about the recent spate of hot, dry weather on the availability of certain UK produce lines, including broccoli and some soft fruit.
Following temperatures of 31oC in Lincolnshire and 25oC in Cornwall, former Secretts Direct boss Vernon Mascarenhas of New Covent Garden’s First Choice Produce told the Fresh Produce Journal that “Broccoli will be hardest hit because generally you don’t irrigate broccoli. In this heat the broccoli plant will dehydrate and shut down.”
He added, “Strawberries are also going to be a problem. In this weather strawberry plants can just shut down and stop producing. “Everyone loves the hot weather but people should realise what it can do to our food chain,” he said. “There are going to be consequences.”