The article below is an excerpt from the Fresh produce Journal 125 year Anniversary Issue
Heritage in variety
This year, Poupart is celebrating a 125th anniversary of its own. Fred Searle caught up with the various managing directors from Argent Group, Poupart Group and BerryWorld Group to hear how they have evolved over the years, and are adapting to today’s challenges.
BerryWorld Paul Avery, UK sales and insight director
What have been the most important periods in BerryWorld’s 26-year history?
The establishment of our own varietal programmes; the onset of blueberry market growth; the establishment of our own brand; seeing our raspberries drive real changes in the industry to tiering and quality expectations; and working closely with teams from around the world to form one giant team, helping us all learn quicker.
How have you seen the fresh produce industry change over the years?
There is now more thought given to long-term investment and securing supply long term, with more consideration for the costs involved in producing rather than trading weekly. There has been huge change in sales by channel, selling fresh fruit in places we never thought possible. The advent of online retail, a year-round presence on aisle ends in large retailers, and growth in the convenience channel have been great to see alongside new markets internationally.
How has coronavirus changed the way you operate?
There have been increased communications, more global collaboration, better ways of working using technology, and more contact with our customers and retailers than ever. It has focused the business on what matters.
What do you think is key to success in today’s increasingly unpredictable fresh produce market?
It’s key to have great partners, confidence, and varieties and breeding genetics that solve the longerterm asks and needs of the consumer and grower. There is huge potential for berries to become more regularly consumed. They are healthy and offer such a convenient way to eat, not only in the home but outside too. Growing to match this demand, while being sustainable year round, still holds massive opportunity.
Have you been involved in any NPD lately?
In collaboration with packaging partners Sharpak and Bantam Materials, BerryWorld has pioneered using Prevented Ocean Plastics in its punnets. This is plastic waste collected from the shoreline that is responsibly converted into high-quality packaging. We think this is key for the future and will continue to support projects like these where we feel they match our brand values and those of our customers.