AUSTRALIA – Westfalia Fruit, the leading year-round multinational supplier of avocados and other fresh produce, has reiterated its strategic approach towards ensuring the security of avocado supply chains despite the current challenges confronting the sector worldwide.
According to the company, the entire supply chain is facing immense challenges – no sooner did Covid-19 pandemic hit than a war in Europe emerged, causing a huge disruption to the supply chain and to the global economy.
“The effects of climate change, inflation, personnel shortages, and disturbances in the currency market add further pressure on industry, this ‘perfect storm’ underscores the urgency of building resilience of the supply chain,” the company said..
The firm reveals that its strategies for addressing these challenges include diversifying supply chains, investing in new technologies and building resilience through risk management.
Diversifying supply chains
In their view, the diversification of the supply chain reduces risks of disruptions by spreading out production and sourcing across multiple locations around the World.
It has invested in new sources of supply to bolster these paradigm supply shifts thereby having the most diverse avocado production footprint, with expansions seen globally in recent years.
The company explains that the European avocado market, which consisted of less than 7 sources for year-round supply, is currently supplied by upwards of 15 countries, and numerous regions within source countries.
“The patterns of supply to various markets continually shift.” explained Matthew Churchill, Global Brand Manager at Westfalia Fruit. “Therefore, it is of paramount importance to pioneer new sources and regions of supply in a proactive manner to safeguard unhindered supply.”
Investing in cutting-edge technologies
On matters technology, the fresh produce leader believes that investing in new technologies and processes can increase efficiency and reduce costs.
The use of technology such as precision agriculture and automated packing, blockchain-based traceability systems – improved efficiency, reduced costs, and increased transparency throughout the supply chain – has helped the firm identify and address potential threats.
Another quality enhancement innovative strategy demonstrated by the company is its total crop use, zero waste strategy. “We strive to use everything, with our avocado stones generated from this process being used as an exfoliator in cosmetics replacing harmful micro-plastics – it really is a virtuous circle of production whilst ultimately unlocking value in the supply chain,” noted Graham Young, Group COO of Westfalia Fruit.
Building resilience through risk management and integration
The company’s third approach, which is on building resilience through risk management and integration, provides improved visibility of systems and processes to identify and respond to potential risks and disruptions rapidly.
“This begins right at the start of the supply chain, through plant material selection and varietal breeding programs, through to supply to customers and each step in between, we have laser focussed approach at all levels” adds Matthew Churchill, Global Brand Manager.
Westfalia Fruit adds that it has the world’s largest privately funded research institute focusing on sub-tropical fruits – specifically avocado.
The research from the institute, according to Westftalia, has commercial relevance with findings being shared with the industry and worldwide scientific community, while it also offers technical advice and support to growers around the world.
A global perspective and commitment
Westfalia Fruit adds that its distinctive contributions extend far beyond its operational boundaries, revealing that in an ever-evolving global landscape, the company’s comprehensive resilient strategy underscores its dedication to adaptability and proactive risk management.
“However, from a risk management perspective, we delve deep into the very roots, from developing plant material to producing new varieties, adopting optimal planting techniques and precise irrigation practices,” notes Graham Young, the COO.
He adds that the holistic approach ensures Westfalia Fruit’s readiness, not only for today but for the years to come.
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