It is an uncertain time for everyone just now, but the fresh produce trade remains on the whole positive and as supply of some fruit moves from Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere supply, there may be challenges ahead.
“It looks like there will be no overhang of Northern Hemisphere topfruit supply and as far as we can tell at the moment Southern Hemisphere supply is looking in good order,” explains Steve Maxwell from Worldwide Fruit which supplies topfruit, stonefruit and avocados.
“If everything progresses the way it’s looking today it will be full supply of great quality fruit, but we do know there are potential issues which could push this off course. The key variables such as the crop and demand are good, at this point there are no staffing or logistics issues, but we know we will have to respond as things progress. This is not a normal year, impacts of Covid-19 will mean that there are knock effects through the industry. We have contingencies in place and we have to be ready to respond. There are also currency issues.”
Steve said that at the moment orders are strong, they have no labour issues and logistics are running well. “Retailers have been fantastic in working with our team navigating our way through these uncharted waters. We hear in produce that citrus, bananas and potatoes have seen the biggest increase in demand but we have also seen a 20% increase in demand for our products, so everything is up.”
“We have not had any arrivals from New Zealand or South Africa yet. Both countries have a degree of lockdown but the agricultural industries are still able to work to almost full capability. We are in first stages of lockdown across many countries but at the moment all our suppliers are still positive.”
“Worldwide Fruit have enough labour at the moment with robust plans in place but we have to be aware that may change depending how Covid-19 progresses.“
The company is also part of the project launched by the Fresh Produce Network in Spalding to supply the local hospitals and care homes with fresh produce. Angie Stuart has done a fabulous job on this.
“I’m hugely impressed by how everyone is working during this difficult and challenging time. Positivity and can-do attitudes abound across the supply chain, our team, the hauliers, the supermarkets - they have all been brilliant.”
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