Greenyard has increased its investment in UK topfruit growers Bardsley England, with the aim of increasing apple and pear volumes by 50 per cent in the next three years.
Bardsley England, rebranded earlier this year from Bardsley Farms, is a fifth generation premium apple and pear producer and packer. Under the leadership of Ben Bardsley as managing director the business has grown over 100 per cent in the past two years.
In 2016, Greenyard, which operates in 25 countries, purchased a minority statke in the family owned farm, with an undisclosed capital increase for investment in machinery and storage capacity.
Alan Forrester, managing director of Greenyard Fresh UK, said the company’s relationship with Bardsley England “has proved to be better and stronger than we could have anticipated”.
“The original business case for Bardsley England has already been surpassed, two years ahead of time. This is a credit to the teams both in Kent (Bardsley) and Spalding (Greenyard),” Forrester said.
“Ben’s drive and commitment has given us the confidence to move forward with a further investment as well as a commitment to inject extra cash designed to improve automation continuing to build the overall efficiency of the site.”
Greenyard stated that it expects the growth and penetration increase over the next three to five years, adding that its increased share in Bardsley England has the added value of preparing them for the event of a no deal Brexit.
Bardsley said: “Bardsley England is well placed to deliver increased volumes of home-grown apples and pears required to satisfy UK consumers increasing appetite for products of local provenance. Our ultimate goal is to automate our operations by 2023 and to extend the UK season thanks to our innovative approach.
“This is going to be particularly important when a hard Brexit happens. When combined with Greenyard Fresh UK’s recent AEO certification we believe we are in a relatively unique position within the market.”
Marc Zwaaneveld, co-CEO of Greenyard added: “This is a clear example how harnessing the knowledge within a modern and progressive company alongside growers, with a passion and the skill to deliver exceptional fruit, can deliver a product to fully meet the UK consumer needs through a transparent, vertically integrated and efficient supply chain."