UK-based retailer Tesco says it is making steady progress in streamlining the procurement and distribution of key fresh produce items across Europe, part of its overall plan to source directly as much of the fruit and vegetables it sells.
Having established a new dedicated global procurement division, Group Food Sourcing (GFS), two and a half years ago, the company now operates nine regional sourcing hubs around the world to purchase and deliver fresh produce to its international network of stores.
Speaking exclusively to Eurofruit, Tesco fruit buyer Martin OSullivan confirmed the group had continued to develop closer links with its suppliers.
"We are increasing direct-to-depot deliveries from southern Europe, but also looking at France, Holland and Belgium," revealed O'Sullivan, who is Tesco's commercial sourcing manager for imported fruit, except tropicals, in the UK and Ireland.
"We have made significant progress on this over the last year and will continue to do so in line with our constant focus on improved product quality and getting the freshest product as quickly as possible from source to store."
Since introducing the regional hub system, GFS has held regular meetings with its suppliers, staging large-scale supplier conferences in North America, South Africa, Spain
and Asia over the past year alone.
"Our hub teams spread across the world have grown since this time last year, and the interaction and communication with the supply base has grown also," O'Sullivan continued.
"We are constantly looking at ways to improve communication with growers, exporters, suppliers, importers, service providers and so on."
The full interview with Tesco's Martin O'Sullivan is published in the upcoming October edition of Eurofruit Magazine.
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