Isle of Wight, Cowes
Food security is one of these issues and farmers across the world, let alone the UK, are under economic pressure to maximise the yields of the land they farm. Increasingly, fields are being turned over to growing crops for fuel and this will affect food production and eventually, availability. Equally, the UK’s ability to provide produce for an ever expectant population is another challenge.
Coastline has always felt a responsibility to work with organisations like Hampshire Fare, the not-for-profit company instigated by Hampshire County Council in a bid to capture and harvest the high quality produce being grown in the County. With Depots in other key locations, and with other regions being targeted in the future, this is a serious and high priority policy that needs micro-managing. “We want to buy locally wherever we can, but the cost of collecting relatively small quantities of undeniably good produce is rendered uneconomic if we have to expend a disproportionate level of resources doing so”, explained Chris Lewis at a recent trade event. “We believe that Councils, food groups and economic regions need to provide a type of “hub” where the growers and producers can bring their product for grading and weighing before obtaining a fair and economic price from buyers such as Coastline”, he went on.
And Chris should know; he has to source produce from all over the world to meet the demands of his 1000 customers and before doing so, observe strict compliance, quality and packaging issues before picking and re-packaging thousands of ingredients overnight for delivery the next morning. “The supply chain has to be robust and reliable if the diversity of ingredients demanded by customers, and subsequently by Coastline’s customers, is going to be met”, Chris concludes. There in lies the problem with sourcing from a multitude of smaller growers and producers, the logistics involved has to be efficient to avoid an environmental cost that wipes out the gain.