Up-to-date products and announcements from the food and beverage sector
Get yourself connected
In response to the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on many small farms across the UK, a new online resource has been launched to connect growers, producers and fishers with their local communities. Created to provide a platform for these fast adapting food businesses, Farms to Feed Us gives shoppers the opportunity to source fresh produce grown close-by on a small and sustainable scale, while supporting those working hard on the front-line. Delivering meat boxes, veg boxes, freshly caught fish and much more to people’s doors, or local hubs where they can be collected safely, this ground-breaking initiative is giving consumers the power to protect the nation’s food security and reach out to small-scale farmers before it’s too late.
Softbox, an award-winning temperature control packaging innovator, has created a new plastic-free 100 per cent kerbside-recyclable cardboard insulated shipper for the delivery of chilled food.
The recently piloted insulated shipper, using Softbox’s Thermaflute™ insulating technology, is launched as the first insulator of its kind in the UK recipe kit industry. This single-use low cost parcel shipper is made from 100 per cent recycled corrugated cardboard and zero plastic. The cardboard is carefully constructed to create effective insulation layers that offer efficiencies similar to those of traditional expanded polystyrene shippers, whilst being completely sustainable.
Softbox partnered with Gousto, a leading recipe kit company, to create the first plastic-free recipe box insulator, known as the Eco Chill Box. This new innovation replaces Gousto’s previous insulator to remove 74.5 tonnes of plastic from their food delivery boxes annually, helping them to reduce plastic by 50 per cent. Timo Boldt CEO and Founder of Gousto said: “Feedback from customers on our Eco Chill Box has been overwhelmingly positive as they can enjoy more of our fresh ingredients delivered in completely plastic free and 100 per cent recyclable packaging. We remain focused on offering a more sustainable meal and have pledged that all of our branded packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by the end of 2022.”
“We’re very excited to bring our new kerbside-recyclable Thermaflute™ insulating technology to the food industry,” added Kevin Valentine, CEO of Softbox Systems. “There is huge demand in the food industry for the reduction of plastic packaging. Thermaflute™ insulating technology helps remove plastics from the delivery process and helps ensure that the food is delivered chilled and fresh. Once delivered, the waste packaging can be disposed of in household recycling bins ready for collection by the local authority.”
International food and drink group Princes has announced an extensive multi-stakeholder COVID-19 charitable response programme, which has already distributed more than half a million products to communities across the UK, Italy and Mauritius.
A rolling partnership with food bank charities in the UK and Italy is ensuring a broad range of products, from canned fish and soups to pasta and sauces, is shared with those in need. The total continues to rise but at the time of writing over 265,000 cans or boxes – 100 tonnes of products – have already been distributed to partners, including FareShare in the UK.
Princes has also supplied the NHS with 290,000 bottles of water for distribution to the five new Nightingale hospitals in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. In Mauritius, there has been a substantial donation of tuna to local groups close to Princes tuna processing site too.
Separately to the charitable response, Princes is also supplying large volumes of pasta and canned food to the country’s most clinically vulnerable, as part of the Government’s food parcel drive.
The business also revealed that the Government designated key workers at Princes’ ten manufacturing sites across the UK have been of paramount importance, as Cameron Mackintosh, Managing Director at Princes, noted: “Our top priority is of course our duty of care to our colleagues working at our food, drinks and oils manufacturing sites. These hidden heroes are feeding the nation and without a fit and healthy workforce, we won’t be in a position to supply our products to customers, charities or the NHS. They will always be our primary concern.”
Usually manufacturing paper straws and other sustainable packaging for the world’s leading Quick Service Restaurant brands, sustainable packaging experts Transcend Packaging has turned its attention to producing a lightweight (26g), low cost, single-use face protector for use in the fight against COVID-19.
The Transcend Face Shield is intended for anyone wanting to take an extra safety precaution from airborne liquid particles associated with the virus including NHS and social care staff, retail employees, delivery drivers or food preparation workers.
Produced at Transcend Packaging’s BRC AA food standards compliant plant near Caerphilly, South Wales, made from widely recyclable materials, and available in plain or printed versions, the CE Certified COVID-19 face shields are intended for use in conjunction with medical face masks and are available to the NHS and others at low cost.
Within hours of the Transcend Face Shield being shared with the public, the first orders were placed, with sales exceeding a million face shields in the first week. Many of the face shields are already in use across hospitals and care homes in Wales and are being tested or deployed in health systems in Greece, Italy, Japan, Ireland, and other parts of the UK.
Lorenzo Angelluci, CEO of Transcend Packaging said: “We’re delighted to have designed, produced and received our CE-marked, regulatory approval for a face shield that can be produced quickly, inexpensively and in large quantities.
“These face shields will help provide COVID-19 protection across Wales and beyond, protecting our brave NHS staff, care home workers, retail and restaurant staff and other frontline workers.
“Our goal is to get as many shields in the hands of key workers as possible and we should be able to produce between one and two million face shields a week as long as the need persists.”
Keep the wine flowing
Berry Bros. & Rudd., Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, is using route planning and proof of delivery technology from PODFather to keep wine deliveries flowing during a period of unprecedented demand. Based in London, Berry Bros. & Rudd supply a wide selection of carefully selected fine wines to customers across the UK. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Berry Bros. & Rudd operation has seen an upsurge in home delivery orders as well as high demand from the supermarkets it supplies. Having used PODFather for over ten years Berry Bros. & Rudd has been able to use its existing delivery management system to cope with the significant increase in demand and the introduction of safer, COVID-19 compliant delivery procedures.
“The COVID-19 situation has meant our delivery model is currently focused on home deliveries and has temporarily shifted away from supplying wines to restaurants and hotels,” comments Matt Anderson, Head of Operations at Berry Bros. & Rudd. “PODFather has really helped us maintain a well-planned and managed home delivery service during these challenging times.”
In addition to helping Berry Bros. & Rudd manage increases in home delivery demand, PODFather has also helped enable the roll out of COVID-19 compliant delivery practices. PODFather planned delivery times are automatically communicated to customers via text and email. This ensures customers know when an order is ready and can be prepared to accept it. With ‘no contact’ delivery protocols now in place, the Berry Bros. & Rudd delivery team has adapted, using the PODFather smartphone app to capture proof of delivery (POD) photographs for every order.