The consumers of today want everything from their food and beverage products: natural ingredients, clean and clear labelling, sustainable credentials and traceability. More than ever, consumers are seeking open, reliable information, as these values become an essential requirement in the industry. This is particularly true of fruit and vegetable ingredients, where inherent variability of harvest cycles and crop yield, combined with ongoing regulatory processes make for a complex supply chain. In addition, the nature of fruit and vegetables means they are highly perishable, so demand can be unstable. It is therefore crucial initiatives are put in place as early in the supply chain as possible, to help overcome these challenges.
Striving for more
Showing commitment to efficient supply chain management is important in creating sustainable value in the business. Plus, to win customer loyalty, there is an ever-increasing need for natural, recognisable ingredients. In the fruit and vegetable ingredient industry, companies are striving to prevent disruption to agro-ecosystems. As such, there is a growing awareness of integrated pest management (IPM) schemes and natural pest control mechanisms, as well as the need to train farmers on these topics. Fruit and vegetable cultivation also often requires continuous irrigation, which can put a strain on local communities. With careful water management through efficient irrigation practices, suppliers are working to reduce the amount of energy needed in fruit and vegetable production.
Maintaining high sustainability standards in the industry means more than just serving commercial needs; it is the act of everyone working together towards more efficient practices. Partnering with like-minded organizations, such as the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) platform and Juice CSR can bring further benefits to the fruit and vegetable industry, as companies can work together to share best practice.
A passion for sustainability
As part of the farming co-operative, the Royal Cosun Group, SVZ consistently pursues sustainable agricultural practice and encourages the optimal use of raw vegetable ingredients across the supply chain. Maintaining close relationships with the farmers who supply the raw materials can help to produce fruit and vegetable purees and concentrates that will later appear in consumer products to the highest standards. This model, together with initiatives, such as using waste materials for alternative purposes, means sustainability becomes deep-rooted in employee behaviour.
Working closely with growers allows suppliers to support them in their development plans and advise on responsible use of pesticides and fertilisers, as well as food safety and regulatory compliance. For example, a model farm project in Poland, at the heart of a key growing region, shares best practices with a team of SVZ agronomists, on how to reduce agrochemicals use while increasing harvest yield. Seed selection to ensure cultivation of the most successful crops also plays an important role in minimising waste.
A greener future
Driving sustainability through the whole supply chain requires collaboration across the wider industry, from growers to retail buyers. By outlining formal goals for the future, we aim to support our customers in their sustainability targets, while creating stability for our growers. SVZ demonstrated this recently by pledging its commitment to reach 75 percent sustainable sourcing by 2025, and 100 percent sustainable sourcing by 2030.