Welcome to the July issue of The Grocery Trader. As we went to press, Britain was sweltering in a summer heat wave. Top banana!
Putting this issue together with the office air con going full blast, we were inspired by the combination of the summer weather and the festival season. Even the M25 starts to look beautiful when it’s like this.
Meanwhile, in these pages we have features on Back To School (September is round the corner relatively speaking – especially if your relatives are school age) and Snacking, and take a look at Ethnic Food & Drink. In passing, many mainstream Brits are global gourmets now, and feel happy cooking with these products. Perhaps it’s time to move on and think of these products as ‘World Food & Drink,’ with a wider appeal than their original community.
Speaking of world food, we take it for granted that we can enjoy tropical food all year round, irrespective of whether it’s in season, and ignore the logistical miracles that bring it to us. As we report on our front page, Fyffes is one of the largest tropical produce importers and distributors in Europe, topping €1billion turnover annually. Best known for bananas, selling 44 million cases in Europe each year, Fyffes is also a major force in pineapples and melons.
All this fruit takes a lot of looking after. Fyffes has banana ripening and distribution centres in Basingstoke, Coventry, Livingston and Normanton, West Yorkshire. Normanton replaces a smaller building in Wakefield, a Fyffes production centre for over 25 years. In the larger unit Fyffes needed a safe, efficient way to move pallets of bananas from the unloading bays to the ripening rooms. The £520,000 project to automate the Normanton facility was won by LB Foster Handling of Leicester. Their solution included manufacture and installation of six production lines, packing benches for 160 staff and an accumulating pallet conveyor over 100m long. So when you see a Fyffes banana, appreciate how it got to you.
Staying with the fruity theme on our front cover, Goplasticboxes.com’s new foldable GoBox 2600 CL crate is a ‘must buy’ for growers and retail logistics professionals. Ideal for handling fruit and veg, the perforated design means growers can rest assured their produce remains fresh from farm to shop. Small ventilation holes in the sides and base of the GoBox 2600 CL allow positive airflow, keeping produce cool and preserving its condition longer than cardboard and solid wood or plastic crates. And since fresh produce can be placed directly into the crates without being pre-bagged or paper-wrapped, retail customers can reduce packaging waste significantly.