Europe’s second largest pallet pool operator, LPR Group, has announced a series of contract wins in the fresh food industry, prompting the business to deliver significant investment in the sector over the coming year. During 2012, LPR was appointed to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to supermarkets by a number of major players in France, Spain, Portugal, Benelux and the UK. It expects to announce further contract wins in 2013.
Most significantly, the French arm of global supplier UNIVEG Katopé has completely overhauled its pallet supply arrangements, and now ships between 1,200 and 2,000 red LPR pallets a week from its sites in Avignon and Rungis. More than 90,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables will be shipped each year from Rungis alone.
UNIVEG Katopé’s logistics manager in France explains that the selection of LPR Group was down to flexible service and the personal touch: "It’s great that we always have the same contacts at LPR who understand our needs and are familiar with our activities. Volumes can vary considerably from day to day and orders have to be prepared very rapidly. With LPR, the number of pallets delivered is adjusted to meet our real needs, so that we always have pallets available as required."
LPR UK managing director, Jane Gorick, adds: "The fresh produce sector is highly competitive and consumers increasingly demand that their fruit and vegetables reach them in pristine condition. It is important, therefore, for producers to work with supply chain professionals who understand how fragile and time sensitive their cargo can be. Because LPR offers a special range of fresh food pallets, which are collected, sorted and repaired, (if necessary), after every trip, we are able to ensure high levels of quality and low levels of damage risk to our partners in the fresh produce sector.
"In addition, as the fresh produce supply chain becomes increasingly automated, it is important to factor safety and productivity levels into the pallet choice. The major food distribution chains are looking for high quality pallets in a variety of formats to suit their automated systems; and we’re proud that LPR pallets are recognised and accepted by the leading producers, distributers and retailers across Europe."
LPR Group’s network incorporates more than 80 local depots which manage pallets in 12 countries across Europe. Its acquisition by fresh produce returnable packaging supplier Euro Pool System (EPS) Group in 2011 means that the total network coverage is even larger and a number of projects are now underway which see EPS boxes and LPR red pallets loaded and shipped together, thus reducing the individual use cost of each item.