Rick Calcott, Sharpak Aylesham

"Growers must be able to have confidence that their packaging will be in place"

In order to perform effectively for customers, growers in the soft fruit industry must have packaging available to ensure fruit can be sold to the market. In recent years, the peaks in demand have been even more unpredictable which has lead to differing pack weights and footprints being used to move large volumes of fresh fruit.

In addition, consumer trends continue to change, meaning retailer decisions must be immediate in order to effectively respond to these demands. These combined pressures add to the growers’ necessity of being able to supply the right packaging at the right time, without incurring extra, unnecessary packaging costs.

"For many years, Sharpak Aylesham has carried out a pre-season campaign to ensure stock is readily available to better cope with high and often unpredictable levels of demand," explains Rick Calcott, commercial director at Sharpak Aylesham. "The main focus of a pre-season programme is to take stock early allowing packers to supply responsively for their customers, ensuring that packaged fruit is readily available to the market."

As a result, packaging suppliers can help to smooth out the irregular nature of demand during the peaks whilst creating flexibility. This also allows a larger range of packs to be manufactured at short notice, thereby catering for all grower and retailer needs.

"Getting stock out into the marketplace not only helps to reduce the surge in requests, which makes the process more manageable, but also gives those in the sector a strong sense of security and trust. In recent years this has become particularly important as growers continue to be on the receiving end of particularly unusual weather patterns," said Calcott.

In 2013, the late season resulted in fruit volumes being available over a much shorter period of time. Consequently, growers came under increasing pressure to be more flexible and sell fruit in differing pack formats. "Within a few weeks, Sharpak Aylesham launched the SPL range, providing a packaging format for promotional weights in super quick time in order to meet with the fluctuating demand for strawberries," Calcott explains.

"Those in the industry understand how important packaging is and how the demand can and will continue to change, suggesting that nothing can be taken for granted. Growers must be able to have confidence that their packaging will be in place, emphasising why a pre-season programme is essential," concludes Calcott.

For more information:
Naomi Ritchie
Tel: 0044 1454 629 741


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