“This year hasn’t been great but considering the circumstances, we were quite lucky”, says Rick Briston, business development manager for UK-based machinery manufacturer Redpack. A common sentiment at the end of this year. The COVID-pandemic has brought a number of challenges for the fruit and vegetable sector and their suppliers.
Rick looks back at the year: “There was some stagnation in the fruit and vegetable sector this year as growers were focusing on the labor and hygiene challenges, as opposed to putting thought into investing in packaging machinery.”
Not all food-related businesses had these issues though: “Unsurprisingly, we saw an uptick in the demand for machinery to package snack-foods”, Rick laughs. And – as it turns out – herbs have packaging properties very similar to face masks: “We are happy that our machines could play a part in providing front-line workers with safely packaged supplies.”
The next hurdle to take is Brexit, but Rick and his team aren’t worried: “We are fully prepared for Brexit, no matter the outcome. Some of our clients on the continent were worried but we don’t think much is going to change for manufacturers like us. We are already shipping our machines all over the world, from Australia to Canada – why wouldn’t Europe work.” And Redpack makes it even easier for their clients by taking care of the customs clearance for them. The newly expanded office in Germany will help with the transition as well: “Having the ability to build and service machines from our office in the EU will ensure that operations are running smoothly.”
For 2021 Redpack hopes to enter more markets worldwide – if the pandemic allows it: “Once we are allowed to travel again, we’d like to connect with even more international business all over the world.”