The Food & Agriculture division here at Compass Point Recruitment are always keen to stay abreast of emerging trends in the sector. This week we had the privilege of attending a webinar hosted by John Smith, MD of Mackie Soft Fruits. His talk centred around the growing logistics costs and the environmental impact of packaging in current times.
John is passionate about finding a solution to these issues and instructed his NPD team to seek ways to reduce their impact. NPD Director Tom Bull set to work and what transpired is nothing short of amazing. They have developed a square grape!
Now square fruit is not a new phenomenon, but selective breeding with such a soft fruit is ground-breaking. Tom, drawing on his time working with renowned scientist Becky Sanisbury at the University of Sacramento, selectively bred over a 4-year period resulting in a near perfect cubic grape. Typically, these are 15mm x 15mm but the process can be tweaked to offering differing dimensions deepening on customer need.
These can be packed tightly in punnets significantly reducing the environmental impact of transportation and driving down storage costs. Inadvertently they have also improved the shelf life as the cubic shape enables the fruit to degrade much more slowly.
John Smith said “The team has really pulled it out of the bag with this one and our clients have already begun to order for next season’s crop. This could result in the major supermarket’s hitting their environmental targets ahead of schedule and should help keep the cost of grapes at a reasonable level for years to come. We’re ahead of our competition, fair and square!”
Tom Bull remarked “This is one of my proudest achievements in my career to date. I was always a told I was a bit square at school and now I’m breeding squares! I couldn’t have done it without John and Rebecca’s support”
The Global Soft Fruit Growers Consortium has nominated Tom Bull for the “Best Shaped Fruit Innovation Award” which will be awarded in September of this year. Here at Compass Point we can’ wait to see what fruits will be square in 2023!