Chambers launches £2m prepared fruits division

By Noli Dinkovski contact

- Last updated on GMT

Chambers management team (l-r): technical manager Rupert Carter; export supply chain manager Cristina Dominguez; supply chain manager Mirian Perez Molina; and commercial director James Miller
Chambers management team (l-r): technical manager Rupert Carter; export supply chain manager Cristina Dominguez; supply chain manager Mirian Perez Molina; and commercial director James Miller
Soft fruit grower Chambers has launched a new ready-to-eat division to allow it to compete in the take-home and on-the-go markets.

The Fruitery is a new £2m high-care facility that will enable the Kent-based company to supply berry pots made from fruits transferred from field to chilled within one hour. Chambers claimed to be the only specialist fruit grower in the UK to have its own prepared fruit facility.

A Fruitery-branded berry medley range has been created as part of the launch. Chambers plans to supply retailers, wholesalers and foodservice with own-label products.

Founded in 1952, the Kent-based company specialises in raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, cherry and blueberry production.

By growing its own plants at farms in Iberia, Poland, Peru and Bulgaria, Chambers is able to supply fresh berries outside the domestic season.

Based just outside Maidstone, the company has its own packhouse and a fleet of refrigerated vehicles, enabling it to make same day deliveries.

‘Very highest standards’

Regular lab testing was undertaken to maintain the “very highest standards”​ of food hygiene in line with the protocols required by food retailer accreditation schemes, Chambers said.

Its “direct from the growers”​ business model resulted in reduced food miles, 100% traceability and an extended shelf-life of up to two days, it added.

The introduction of The Fruitery represented a “natural extension”​ of the original Chambers offering, meeting the growing customer demand for a berry medley product that comprises the same high-quality berries direct from the grower and supplied via a shortened supply chain, said Chambers managing director Tim Chambers.

In recent years, we have identified a route to market that delivers significant benefits to our customers,”​ he said. “Our prepared fruit offering allows the trade to access quality fruit direct from our farms. With a proven lean supply chain and clear provenance and traceability at all stages, customers have confidence in our products.”

‘Picking to packhouse process’

“By providing a picking to packhouse process measured in minutes, the customer is guaranteed fresher fruit, with an extended shelf-life and lower carbon footprint (decreased food miles). It is this winning formula that has enabled us to build an established and trusted rapport with the major multiples.”

Chambers said the Fruitery would provide an opportunity for the company to diversify its portfolio, in order to meet the customer demand for a quality berry medley pack.

“This type of snack is directly in line with current healthy eating trends and is also compliant with the growing desire among consumers to buy into the popular field to fork concept,”​ he added.

The Fruitery range comprises a four and five Berry Medley in 160g, 220g and 240g variants; an 80g Blueberry snack pot; a Strawberry, Apple and Grape Medley in 130g and 160g variants; a Strawberry & Apple Medley in 130g and 160g variants; and a Strawberry and Grape Medley in 130g and 160g variants.

In addition, there is the option of a Catering pack (600g, 1kg and 1.5kg) in a variety of medley choices.

Related topics: Fresh produce, Supply Chain, Manufacturing

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