Leading vegetable producer forced to cut-down deliveries due to supply chain crisis

Representative iStock image

One of the country’s biggest vegetable producers has said it is delivering less food to supermarkets and major distributors in order to prevent it going to waste amid supply chain issues, reports stated today (19).

Norfolk-based Alfred G Pearce has overhauled the way it produces fresh food after losing several thousand pounds of stock within a couple of weeks as vegetables were left to rot at depots due to a lack of staff and delivery drivers at the beginning of the pandemic, reports said.

Shortages of seasonal workers, allegedly owing to Brexit, in the agricultural sector, has led to a huge labour shortfall.

In order to deal with the situation, the firm has lowered the sale of  juices, smoothies and purees- “complex products” that require more work to produce.

“The situation remains difficult but is certainly better now the Government, customers and consumers have taken onboard the realities,” Simon Pearce, the firm’s director, told i.

The firm – which is based across three sites and grows 60,000 tonnes of vegetables a year – has also reduced its hours by around a day and a half, in response to shortages.

Alongside the reduction in its outputs, Alfred G Pearce is sending out fewer deliveries – on five days rather than seven – to its customers in the UK and Europe.

Mr Pearce stressed that the new methods had made production more efficient. 

“We are now able to work less days, needing less people, with better vehicle fill for deliveries,” he said.

Describing the situation as a “fresh challenge”, Pearce said that on top of the shortages in HGV drivers and depot workers, the company is also facing price hikes on the materials used in vegetable production, including fertiliser, energy and packaging, as well as post-Brexit import costs.