Our client is a family business, founded in 1998 after cold storage for their fruit. Originally the company focused on grapes and citrus but has since developed to include a 12-month berry supply. Initially focusing on imported berries, the business has now established a UK berry business. They supply supermarket category managers, food services, caterers, discount retailers, and the wholesale market.
With premium produce and sustainable pricing as their leading business ethos, the organisation is synonymous in the industry. This is for their high technical standards and flexibility to meet customer specifications in packing and quality.
The strawberry being the most celebrated of summer fruits, demand for fresh, premium quality berries peaks between late May to September. Due to being a staple of countless countryside picnics, cream teas, BBQs and of course Wimbledon fortnight.
The British weather is getting harder to predict and climatic events becoming more common. UK fruit producers faced both opportunities and headaches that come from our capricious climate.
In the summer of 2013, the business was enjoying a very high-yield of strawberry crops and demand from supermarket buyers was at an all time high. All of whom were requiring exacting quality berries for their shelves.
With outside temperatures hitting 30°C and a heatwave in full swing, the temperature of the strawberries as they were being placed in the existing holding chiller for storage was adversely effecting the operation of the unit. It struggled to maintain the optimum temperature to ensure the quality of the produce. So, they needed to act fast to rectify this problem and contact AHR for assistance.
After an initial site survey and analysis, AHR recommended the installation of one of their premium 20ft blast chiller units. This would enhance the business’s productivity by rapidly chilling the strawberries ready for safe storage.
The unit was sited within an existing warehouse and was fully operational within hours of installation. Fully functioning, the berries were deployed directly from the pickers into the unit to blast chill to a temperature suitable for them to enter the main holding chiller. This meant the produce achieved the demanding criteria set by supermarkets in order for the soft fruits to reach the supermarket shelves at their very best.