Barfoots of Botley supplies more than one million pumpkins in just four weeks as Halloween approaches
The UK’s expanding love affair with all things Halloween is open season for one of the UK’s biggest pumpkin growers, who are moving more than a million fruit in just four weeks.
Together with supply chain partner IPP, Barfoots supplies four different types of pumpkins into the UK’s supermarkets, and at the peak of the 2022 season, the Bognor Regis-based company delivered the equivalent of 40 lorry loads of pumpkins in one day, according to IPP.
Paul Chilton, Barfoot’s head of logistics and planning, said the UK’s growing love of all things Halloween has led to year-on-year growth for pumpkin deliveries throughout its eight-year relationship with IPP.
Coventry-based IPP, one of Europe’s leading poolers of pallets and boxes, works with market gardeners and growers across the country to deliver pumpkins into the nation’s supermarkets, as well as delivering tens of millions of confectionery buckets for doorstep trick or treaters.
Chilton said: “Along with the summer sweetcorn season, this is one of our busiest times of the year. We’re moving more than a million pumpkins, which are used for carving, cooking and decoration.
“The biggest of the lot is the carving pumpkin, which accounts for around 750,000 of the pumpkins we grow and move.
“The vast majority of these are distributed over just four weeks. It’s a huge technical challenge getting everything lined up for effectively one day.”
Barfoots and IPP also work hand-in-hand to provide the extra resources needed to deal with the short, sharp spike in activity.
Chilton said: “We grow a lot of pumpkins on our farms in the south, plus we have a partner farm in the Midlands which IPP delivers pallets to.
“Pumpkins are a temperamental crop – if they don’t get water, they don’t grow big, and if they get too much water they start to rot. It’s quite a technical challenge getting this all ready for effectively one day.
“It’s a very dynamic situation, but responsiveness and reactiveness are part of the day job for IPP, and they don’t try and make out that it is something special.
“The pumpkins are the thing that drags people into supermarkets, and while they’re there they buy costumes and sweets and the like. It’s a really important time of year for our customers.”
Shelley Pierre, commercial director at IPP, said: “We know how popular Halloween has become in the UK, and the huge volumes of pumpkins we move for Barfoots of Botley just prove that.
“It’s a great partnership which works on the flexibility, customer service and quality of product that we’re known for.”