When a millionaire property developer told an Australian news channel that if millennials want to save to buy a house, then they should stop wasting money on smashed avocado and quirky coffee it caused predictable outrage across Twitter.
The avocado, which has seen its price surge in recent months , has come to epitomise a demand for fresh food, available on demand, all year-round
An avocado’s journey from Mexico to British shop-floors is a complex one, as the BBC noted in a recent episode of Supermarket Secrets, featuring DP World London Gateway. And with demand for fresh produce rising three per cent last year, an efficient supply chain is critical in guaranteeing freshness, reducing cost and extending shelf-life.
Sales of organic produce is also on the up , so using preservatives to artificially extend shelf life is a no-no. Yet food waste is also a key concern, and being able to shave one or two days off on transit time can make a sizeable difference.
One solution could be found by reviewing a few links in the supply chain. Just as many retailers have successfully rationalised store portfolios, many are now doing the same with warehousing. Benefits can be gained by considering what links, such as journeys between ports and national distribution centres (DCs), can be removed so that goods arriving in the UK can be in store sooner and with a later ‘best before’ expiry date.
A high-tech, fresh produce warehouse located next to a port is one possible solution. SH Pratt Group, one of Europe’s biggest produce importers, has moved first to develop such a facility, integrated with DP World London Gateway’s semi-automated port. Last year, the port handled around 100,000 refrigerated containers and is handling more in 2017. These are filled with millions of lemons, limes, bananas, avocados and pineapples, arriving from all corners of the globe.
By landing cargo closer to such facilities and utilising faster, more reliable port operations – able to consistently deliver, even through seasonal peaks – there is huge potential for companies supplying goods across the country to maximise efficiency.
This doesn’t necessarily mean replacing DCs, it means thinking about how much time can be saved before goods reach the DC and how that could contribute to prolonging expiry dates of perishable goods.
While avocados might be replaced by a different super-food trend in the future, demand for fresh produce is unlikely to expire or fall away. There are simple and bespoke solutions which could curb costs, emissions and food waste.