Bakkavor urges edibles industry to 'take processing seriously'

The fresh-produce industry "doesn't take food processing seriously", Bakkavor vegetable procurement manager Michelle Bailey told the Onion & Carrot Conference.

But she stressed that with ongoing growth, the multinational processed-food company wants to build relationships with suppliers.

"Our vegetable procurement has risen from 70,000 to 120,000 tonnes over the past five years," she said. "We need suppliers that can accommodate our growth and we want to be their customer of choice. We are looking for an understanding of the chilled-food sector and its need for 24/7 supply, consistent quality and best value."

Bailey is in charge of fresh-vegetable procurement across 26 categories, using 20 key suppliers. "Onions are a core ingredient in our business - more than 70 per cent of our products, numbering around 4,000 lines, contain them," she explained. "We buy 18,000 tonnes of red and white onions in all different formats, delivered every day.

"We visit everyone in the supply chain. We also take our customers out to our suppliers and we educate our workers about the product."

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