Working on a greater production scale "will provide increased profitability for everyone", Produce World Group (PWG) executive chairman and chief executive Neil Fraser told supplier growers at its Grower Day held at Houghton Hall in Norfolk last month.
Speaking in light of PWG’s recently concluded joint venture with Lincolnshire Field Products to supply brassicas, and its consolidation of facilities, Fraser explained the rationale behind such moves and outlined ambitious plans for future growth.
"We need to get closer to our growers and work with them in a collaborative way to deliver the lowest cost model in the marketplace," he said. "It’s not about size for its own sake."
Procurement director Jon Campbell added: "Moving forward we will be looking at a consolidated grower base, but this will provide opportunities and more long-term contracts will give growers the confidence to invest. By working more closely with our growers we believe we can create a greater margin for everyone."
Head of sustainability and research Guy Thallon then explained the group’s 4Life corporate social responsibility programme, saying: "It has real commercial objectives at its heart and that includes our extensive research programme, which is designed to deliver benefits to our growers and increase margins all around."
Other speakers on the day included Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett and LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond, who spoke about healthy eating and the need for the industry to sell the health benefits of fresh vegetables.
Strategy - Solar panels installed at factory
As part of its 4Life strategy, Produce World Group’s organic vegetables division Produce World Yaxley is installing 800 solar panels on two of its factory buildings.
The new 200kWp array will generate around 188,000kWh of electricity a year to help power the site. It is expected to be in place for the next 25 years, during which it will save some 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The site is already using a closed-loop water system incorporating reed beds, part of a natural habitat area currently being developed.