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Produce World Re:freshes their list of awards with two more


Produce World, one of the UKs leading growers and suppliers of fresh produce, has won two prestigious awards in the Oscars of the Fresh Produce calendar, the Re:fresh Awards run by the Fresh Produce Consortium. Produce World were presented with both the Innovation of the Year and Packer of the Year awards.

Innovation of the Year was awarded for the Field Factory, , this rather remarkable beast is a self-propelled harvest system that selects, harvests, packs and labels broccoli in the field ready for vacuum cooling and delivery to retail customers. It is so efficient that it is looking to extend the shelf life of broccoli by up to two days.

Thanks to the Field Factory, the broccoli does not need to be handled twice in the harvesting process, the waste produce that doesnt meet customer specifications is left in the field and therefore ploughed back into the soil and not left to rot in a landfill site, and because the field factory is operational 24 hours a day, the broccoli can be harvested in the coolest part of the day, reducing the impact of further cooling on arrival at the separate cooling facility, which is obviously good for the companys carbon footprint. Broccoli can be harvested, packed and delivered to the main site for vacuum cooling within two hours, and within 45 minutes of arrival the consignment is cooled to the optimum temperature and ready for despatch. The ultimate aim is to have broccoli on the shelf for the consumer within 36 hours of harvest in the UK season, starting in the early part of June 2011.

Marcus Rayner (Farm Operations Director) of Produce World said: Produce World aims to deliver category leading availability and quality through commitment, professionalism and innovation. The field factory enables us to farm responsibly and to achieve high standards of corporate responsibility. We believe it is truly innovative and are delighted that it has gained the recognition it deserves.

To optimize the outputs of the field-factory Produce World has also invested in a new multi million pound state of the art cold storage unit. This technology offers significant reductions in energy usage compared to standard refrigeration equipment, can store brassicas for over one month thus minimising wastage and preventing grower shortages which naturally occur from time to time.

The Innovation of the Year award demonstrates Produce Worlds commitment to the latest technology to ensure the best quality fresh produce possible and the best means of supplying it to their customers. However, the Packer of the Year Award demonstrates how the same company is committed to its people and the community in which they work. Produce World appreciates its work force and is determined to become a Financial Times top 50 Great Places to Work employer.

Although Produce World is a world class company it still maintains a family business feel with the fourth generation of the Burgess family currently at the helm. The company has four pillars of commitments to benefit its local community, its workforce and the environment both locally and in its working with growers and suppliers further afield. The Pillars are:

  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Community Impact
  • Workplace Culture
  • Responsible Sourcing

All four show the companys determination to develop and maintain market leading business practices and the Packer of the Year Award is in recognition of their efforts.

Environmental Stewardship

We understand the environmental impact of our operations and constantly seek opportunities to improve it.

Produce World has developed a bespoke data collection system to accurately capture data, measure environmental impact, report on performance and implement measures to reduce waste and improve efficiency. The company is very transparent with its performance levels as they are published within the annual CSR Report and can be viewed live on the Produce World website.

Community Impact

We will make a positive, measurable contribution to the communities in which we operate.

Each Produce World site works closely with its local community heavily involved in fundraising activities. Examples of the companys work include providing allotment space for growing vegetables and setting up coaching sessions at Peterborough prison.

Workplace Culture

We value the contribution of all of our employees and are committed to providing a safe, stimulating, rewarding and collaborative working environment.

The ultimate aim for Produce World is to be in the FT top 50 Great Places to Work. The company has already set in place processes to achieve this and a recent survey of the workforce has resulted in improved recreational areas on all sites which have been applauded, as have an increased number of organised social activities, a Leadership Academy and a new employee appraisal process.

Responsible Sourcing

We will always treat our growers and suppliers fairly and ask the same from our customers.

Produce World has entered into a three year collaborative project with Cranfield University, called Soil-for-Life to develop a soil information and risk management system for the companys supply chain. This is because soil is a vital non-renewable resource which requires sustainable management to ensure the viability of food production, nutrient retention and recycling and filtration of water into the future. This is just one example of how Produce World works with its growers and suppliers to ensure that they are the best company to partner with in that sector.

Of Produce Worlds performance at the awards, Nigel Jenney of Fresh Produce Consortium said: The standards of the entries was extremely high. We are delighted to recognise Produce Worlds achievements as Re:fresh Packer of the Year and Re:fresh Innovation of the Year. Produce World has shown progress right across the business with some impressive investment and consumer engagement.

Jason Burgess (group Commercial Director) of Produce World said: I am immensely proud of our achievements. Its been a tough year for everyone involved in fresh produce but recognition like this is great for company morale and to affirm that all our hard work is worthwhile. Congratulations to all the team at Produce World.

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