FPJ Big 50 Companies
Asplins PO – £113M turnover. Position: 38th
Over 90% of Asplins turnover comes from soft and stone fruit, which has continued to perform strongly. We have continued to increase our direct customer sales through strengthening relationships and adding to our customer base. In addition to increasing production we have sold more non-member fruit to meet demand.
2020 presented new challenges, particularly around Covid-19 and labour. It is testimony to the great efforts of all our Members and staff that we have managed another significant increase in production and turnover. We lost one member as our major top fruit grower retired but we gained a new soft fruit Member, resulting in soft and stone fruit now comprising 99% of our business.
The coming months bring yet more uncertainty, particularly around Brexit and the availability of labour. We are confident that the increased demand for healthy fruit will continue in 2021; we have great relationships with our multiple customers and we have all the skills, plants and infrastructure in place. Whilst UK based labour can augment our seasonal labour requirements, we absolutely need overseas labour to get the harvest in.
For 2021 we will have an increased area of production, more heated tunnels to help spread the season and new exciting varieties in on-farm trials. We continue to reduce our carbon footprint through investing in alternative energy sources such as ground source heat pumps, reducing pesticide usage through increasing use of biologicals and through waste reduction.
The UK produce sector has a very bright future as demand for healthy, home-produced food increases. The challenges are to be leaner, greener and more automated. All of this needs confidence to invest and uncertainty around labour is the key concern as it is a political decision and out of growers’ hands.