Helping children with cancer this Christmas

For the second year running Palletline are supporting the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance with their Cycling Santas festive endurance.

Allports, a commercial vehicle supplier to Palletline will be providing the van and Palletline will be supplying the driver. This support vehicle will accompany the Cycling Santas throughout their five day journey and will carry essential kit including spare bike parts, first aid, food and drink and presents for the children undergoing treatment for Neuroblastoma cancer this Christmas.

The cyclists' journey makes stops at London, Oxford, Birmingham, Chester, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast visiting and handing out presents to children with Neuroblastoma.

This year Palletline will have their own Cycling Santas as staff from head office and the member network have volunteered to give up their time, cycle hundreds of miles and deliver presents to these children.

If you would like to sponsor Palletline’s own Cycling Santas, visit their Justgiving page and give as much or as little as you can.

DHL’s call to build the environmental supply chain

The environmental supply chain has been revealed as an untapped opportunity to capture value and drive topline revenue, according to a new whitepaper.

Where the supply chain was formerly the weakest link from a sustainability perspective, the new, closed loop environmental supply chain is a business imperative that can reduce carbon, deliver significant cost savings and improve favorability with consumers.

“Closing The Loop: Building the Environmental Supply Chain” the new whitepaper by Lisa Harrington, President of the lharrington group LLC, has been commissioned by DHL, the world’s leading logistics company.

It makes the case for businesses to think differently about their supply chains and the ‘costs’ attached to going green. The paper argues that best-practice businesses - such as P&G which recently reported nearly $1billion in cost savings from its environmental supply chain - no longer perceive sustainability as a cost, but recognize it as an opportunity to create value.

Lisa Harrington, President, lharrington group LLC, says: “A great shift in attitudes is currently underway across industries. Gone are the old and dated misconceptions that ‘green’ means higher costs. Where the environmental supply chain model is executed correctly, companies are capitalizing on increased revenue and social kudos from customers, while also ensuring their business is operating in line with necessary compliance measures.

“The recipe for success is to get the four principles right. These are reduce, reuse, recycle and recapture. Reduction is all about eliminating waste by injecting efficiency, reusing involves product refurbishment, while recycling is ensuring that your waste becomes opportunity. Recapturing is the process of breaking down end-of-life products to harvest residual value such as precious metals.”

Faced by driving market trends such as escalating consumer pressure, the need to improve efficiency and reduce cost, the compliance squeeze enforced by legislators, and rising expectations of corporate responsibility; companies are reevaluating their approach to environmental supply chain management. Leading companies are creating value by modifying their supply chains to manage their key inputs and outputs such as energy, carbon, water, materials and waste in a way that can reduce the environmental footprint of a business and generate new sources of revenue from residual value.

The whitepaper identifies solutions that will enable companies to realize the four principles of the environmental supply chain. A Lead Environmental Partner (LEP) fulfills a control tower role by monitoring the forward and reverse flows of the supply chain to identify opportunities that make environmental and economic sense. The next solution is the closed loop supply chain management approach which integrates waste recycling, value recovery and environmental protection compliance through an LEP that manages collection, sortation and recycling streams. Finally, the LEP provides visibility through its detailed carbon reporting that allows progress tracking better management.

Chris Jackson, Vice President, Envirosolutions, DHL Supply Chain says: “The environmental supply chain has fast become an opportunity and necessity for companies. Companies demonstrating best practice are driving down costs and saving millions while also ensuring their business is up to the standard of modern compliance measures which can potentially incur damages if not.

“LEPs help make the cost savings even greater with their ability to act as a single vendor for a company’s waste management, ensuring the best recyclable rates are achieved and the process is simplified as much as possible. For example, the integrated partner approach is now at the forefront of waste management with companies receiving their shipments and having their recyclable waste collected by the same vehicle. Having a partner that can fulfill this role saves companies hundreds of thousands in land fill tax savings and reduces carbon emissions significantly as well.”

The white paper can be downloaded in full at

Sharwood’s serves up excitement with new Pastry Bakes

South Wales pastry manufacturer Peter’s Food Service has struck a licensing deal with Asian cuisine brand Sharwood’s to launch a new range of Sharwood’s chilled pastry bakes.

Working in partnership with Sharwood’s brand owner Premier Foods, Peter’s will manufacture, market and sell a new range of naan-shaped pastry bakes so that consumers can ‘serve up some excitement’ to their day with a new way to enjoy their favourite Sharwood’s curry sauces at any time, in any place.

Filled with the authentic Sharwood’s flavours that curry fans know and love, the new range of 150g pastry bakes will be available in Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Madras, Chicken Balti and Chicken Korma.

With a recommended retail selling price of £1.50 the pastry bakes offer great value for money.

They can be enjoyed either hot or cold at any time, in any place.

Delphine Grauf, Marketing Controller Sharwood’s says: “Sharwood’s is renowned as the UK’s number one brand for Asian cuisine, allowing consumers to create delicious curry and Chinese nights at home. Our Indian products are particularly popular, accounting for 63% of total retail sales”.

“With the introduction of these products, consumers can now enjoy our flavoursome Indian curries any time.

“Coupled with the strong consumer equity of the Sharwood’s brand, we are confident that the products will have wide market appeal and attract new consumers to the chilled pastry category.”

The category extension marks a new era for Sharwood’s, with the brand currently ranging cooking sauces, naan breads, crackers, noodles, poppadoms and mango chutney.

Clare Morgan, Marketing Director for Peter’s Food Service says: “Consumers are already familiar with Indian cuisine in the chilled pastry category.

“We believe the rich, delicious flavours of the Sharwood’s curry sauces, encased in a naan-shaped pastry bake with sprinkles, will resonate with avid chilled pastry consumers and new consumers alike.

“We are delighted to be working with such a well-loved brand to bring this new range to market.”

The Sharwood’s chilled pastry range will launch exclusively in Asda in October.

The launch will be supported by an integrated PR and marketing campaign.

Mobility conference hailed a success

The fifth Annual Enterprise Mobility conference saw 160 delegates and sponsors packed out Peak-Ryzex headquarters, with 76% of delegates attending the event for the first time.

The event attracted a range of industries including retail, manufacturing, T&L, utilities and many more. Delegates ranged from IT directors, business analysts, project managers and consultants, all looking at learning the latest trends from industry experts, sharing experiences and meeting with suppliers under one roof.

The conference series has gained momentum over the years and is now firmly established as a must-attend event for those involved in enterprise mobile projects. This year’s theme, “Enterprise Mobility: The Unstoppable Wave”, reflects the way mobile technology has transformed the way we interact, exchange information and connect in our personal lives and changed the way we do business.

Keynote speaker Kim Gasson, CTO of BT Global Services, Fieldforce Automation, identified some of the emerging trends in mobile technologies namely M2M, Internet of Things and EMM. He discussed what companies can do now to prepare for the influx of data to their operations brought about by IoT and how can they turn it into advantage.

Following a greatly received presentation by Padraig Regan, CTO of B2M Solutions, about using data for business intelligence, Peak-Ryzex customers TNT Express, EDF Energy and Environment Agency provided a candid dialogue of lessons learned when rolling out mobile projects and suggested deployment best practices.

Jessica Davies, Marketing Manager at Peak-Ryzex and organiser of the event, says, “Mobility isn’t going to disappear so our goal for the event is to help organisations stay apace of technology developments and get ahead in their respective markets. The feedback we have received has been extremely positive and with 90% of delegates expressing an interest to attend next year’s conference.”

Special thanks goes to Headline sponsor Motorola Solutions, conference lounge sponsor Samsung, evening sponsor Wavelink, and the other sixteen sponsors who exhibited at the event.

Preceding the conference, a charity golf and karting day took place at Castle Combe Golf Club and Castle Combe Circuit raising over £10,000 in total for two chosen charities, SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) Swindon and Megan Baker House.

Matcon announces new Managing Director

Matcon has appointed Dave Cooper to the position of Managing Director. Dave takes over from Charles Lee who has decided to step down in order to be able to spend a little more quality time with his family.

Dave joined Matcon in 2002, working first in Engineering, then Sales and Business Development before joining the senior management team as Operations Director in 2008. He has been at the heart of Matcon’s management and strategic development for several years and his strong customer focus, technical skills, dynamic work ethic and deep understanding of our business provide the perfect foundation to take on the company leadership.

Charles has been with Matcon since 1991, working in Sales, Engineering and General Management before becoming Managing Director in 1997. He has provided great vision and led the company through periods of dramatic change and together with a superb team has achieved sustained growth and profitability for Matcon. Charles is not retiring and will remain on the senior management team as Executive Director to offer the continued benefit of his knowledge and experience.

Foreign Secretary visits Agrivert AD plant

Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP recently visited Agrivert’s West London anaerobic digestion facility at Trumps Farm in Surrey.

The facility, which was a joint venture between Agrivert and Grundon Waste Management, is in Mr Hammond’s Parliamentary constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge. It was officially opened in June 2014 by Norman Grundon and since then the plant has been operating at full capacity. It treats 50,000 tonnes of organic waste per annum, which includes municipal and commercial food waste as well as a range of liquid wastes.

The site recently gained PAS 110 certification for its digestate fertiliser, meaning that all three of Agrivert’s AD plants are now certified. This is noteworthy because only 18 of the 106 food waste plants in the UK have managed to achieve and maintain PAS110 status.

The Foreign Secretary was met by Agrivert’s Commercial Director Harry Waters and Grundon managing director Clayton Sullivan-Webb, who took him on a tour of the facility. The plant recycles waste predominately from Surrey - including all of Runnymede’s food waste - and South London, and Mr Hammond was pleased to hear that so much local waste is being treated at the facility.

He was keen to understand the economics of the AD plant and how the subsidy regime incentivises the construction of plants like these. He said, “These facilities are required to recycle our waste and produce renewable energy. Anaerobic Digestion clearly has a part to play in meeting the UK’s renewable energy obligations whilst providing a cost effective recycling solution for organic wastes. This facility on the Trumps Farm site has been accepted by the local community as far less disruptive than the previously proposed incinerator."

Harry Waters says, “We were delighted that Philip Hammond made time in his diary to visit the plant. It is important that politicians understand what our sector is contributing to the economy and the Foreign Secretary was remarkably well briefed and certainly asking the right questions.”

Clayton Sullivan-Webb says, “With the Government widely expected to ban the disposal of food waste from landfill in the future, the visit provided an opportunity for Mr Hammond to see first-hand the environmental and economic benefits that AD facilities such as Trumps Farm offer.”

Seafish unveils responsible seafood sourcing tool

Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, has launched a new tool to assist seafood buyers make informed purchasing decisions for their businesses.

The free online platform, Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood, will give the entire UK supply chain of seafood buyers - in the wholesale, foodservice and retail sectors - greater clarity over the status of the seafood they are purchasing both at stock and fisheries levels. RASS can be accessed at

The introduction of RASS comes as the industry has continued to call for consistency of seafood sourcing standards, and reinforces the need for robust and up-to-date information in order to make informed decisions. RASS fishery profiles will contain information on stock status, the efficacy of management, as well as seafloor habitat and bycatch impacts. The first tranche of around 100 profiles based on the most common species bought in the UK including haddock, cod and tuna are available now and profiles will continue to be added over the coming months. Crucially the tool will also eventually address ethical and welfare issues around sourcing seafood that remains an area of great concern for the industry.

While information on what fish to eat already exists from a number of sources, Seafish believes that RASS will enable commercial buyers to make informed choices that comply with their own internal policies or procedures for purchasing seafood, rather than having to adopt those of advisory organisations.

Tom Pickerell, Seafish Technical Director, says, “As the industry authority on seafood, Seafish is committed to promoting best practice throughout the supply chain, from UK commercial fishermen to producers and ultimately retailers. With RASS, we have for the first time created a single, powerful reference resource for commercial seafood buyers to consult in order to make sound sourcing decisions based on their own corporate philosophies rather than being told what seafood they should and should not buy.”

Katie Miller, Sustainable Seafood Coalition coordinator, says, “It’s encouraging to see much of the seafood industry focus on improving the sustainability of their fish and on ensuring they source responsibly. Reliable information is crucial to addressing such a complex challenge. We expect the RASS tool to be very useful to suppliers, retailers and others evaluating the risk related to sourcing a particular fish. We look forward to seeing RASS develop to cover more fish stocks.”

UK food and drink exports continue to grow in 2014

The Food and Drink Federation has reported that UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports have continued to grow in 2014, rising to £6.5bn in the first six months of the year – an increase of 4.8% on the same period in 2013.

Exports performed well in both non-EU markets (+12%) and in the EU (+2.5%), despite pressures such as stronger sterling and falling EU GDP working against British exporters.

FDF’s latest update also found that the food and non-alcoholic drink trade balance improved by 4.9% to a deficit of £12bn – a welcome news in contrast to the trade balance for all UK products worsening by 84% in the first half of 2014. Including alcoholic drinks, total food and drink exports were down 0.5% on 2013, largely due to a rare decline in whisky exports as growth slowed in Asia and other leading markets.

Ireland and France remain the UK’s biggest food and drink export markets by value. By value gained however, Algeria shot into second place as exports of skimmed milk powder (+£37m) and cereals (+13m) drove a +429% increase in sales to the market.

Value added products performed well in both the EU (+4.7%) and non-EU (+10.2%) and the top five best performing value added products generated export gains of £208m.

To help boost international trade, FDF and Open to Export have launched Food & Drink Export Month on A joint initiative between Open to Export, Government and industry, the Food and Drink Export Month runs from 15 September – 10 October and features free-of-charge live webinars, guides and case studies, designed to help small and medium-sized food and drink companies grow their exports business.

FDF’s Economic and Commercial Services Director, Steve Barnes, says: “Against a backdrop of challenging conditions in food retail in the UK and overall goods exports falling, food and non-alcoholic drink exports continue to grow well and individual products to certain markets are experiencing rapid growth.

“Our brands have been working hard to develop new opportunities in international markets and to help businesses boost exports further we have been working with Government and others to introduce a raft of new resources and expert advice on this autumn.”

Poor pallet hygiene poses threat to UK economy

"UK businesses using wood packaging materials for shipping goods could be putting the health and safety of staff at serious risk and causing untold damage to the UK economy”, says Jim Hardisty, Managing Director of

This warning comes after a staff member for the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, fell ill at one of its depots after handling packaging on goods imported to the UK.

GMB, the union for staff at Amazon, is convinced that the illness is linked to insects carried in the packaging and has called for the company to conduct a thorough, independent risk assessment of the dangers of insect contamination in wood and other packaging of goods imported from abroad.

Jim continues: “Although all wood packaging used for transporting goods into the EU or out of Portugal (a known pinewood nematode area) must be heat treated in accordance with ISPM 15 regulations to kill off pests, it’s clear that insect invasions from abroad remain a very real threat to the UK economy.

“In May this year, the Ecological Society of America discovered the emerald ash borer in the wood packing material of goods imported into North America. This case surely strengthens the argument for enforcing stricter safety checks worldwide for verifying ISPM 15 compliancy and for extending ISPM 15 by making it compulsory to heat treat all wood pallets and crates moving within EU member states – something the European Commission is in the process of reviewing.

“Poor pallet hygiene however is a much bigger topic than insect contamination alone. Mould and bacteria are other common signs that pallets are being kept in unsanitary conditions which, when using plastic varieties, can be easily combatted with regular cleaning as plastic pallets are 100% water resistant. Timber pallets are much harder to preserve as even kiln dried varieties contain some moisture, making them susceptible to mould growth and blue stain fungus.

“The timber industry is fully aware of the hygiene issues with wooden pallets and to their credit TIMCON – the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation – has launched a new Essential Guide Pack** for drying timber pallets to keep them mould-free.

“Guide or no guide, the fact remains that wooden pallets are still inherently more likely to harbour contaminants than plastic ones – the only variety that can be repeatedly steam cleaned and reused guaranteeing optimum hygiene throughout its working life."

Hong Kong and China food imports from California to exceed $4...

According to the US Department of Commerce, Californian food producers are on target to export more than $4 billion worth of fresh produce, health & organic foods, and fine wines to Hong Kong and China in 2014. Last year, consumers ate and drank their way through $3.899 billion worth of Californian food products, a 19.5% increase on 2012. The overall rise in consumption spending and demand for higher quality food products should lead to a similar double-digit increase by the end of 2014.

Hong Kong and China shoppers are discriminating more and more about their food purchases. They are actively seeking out more information about nutrition, sustainability and safety, which is driving demand for higher quality products. Quality tends to be associated with “country of origin”, something that consumers respond to when making purchasing decisions. California and US food products are positioned as high quality, which helps to explain the growth of US food exports across greater China.

Hong Kong's annual HK Food Expo 2014 will again see leading Californian food and drink producers displaying rich and diverse produce from The Golden State. There will also be opportunities for food sampling and wine tasting sessions throughout the show at the California, USA Pavilion, at booth 5F-F11.

Jeff Williamson, Director, California State Trade and Export Promotion, says, “The growing number of food and wine products imported to HK and China is a tremendous achievement of California's produce gaining acceptance, at an ever increasing rate, with the discerning palates of consumers in Hong Kong and China. Rising exports reaffirms a long-standing commitment to provide a diverse, quality product portfolio to customers."

Food Expo 2014 will see Californian exporters showcasing quality-assured food and beverage products such as organic foods, nuts, premium chocolate and candies, baby foods, wines, cheeses and other manufactured food items. Well represented this year are producers from the confectionary sector with premium chocolates and snacks made with real fruit extracts to satisfy the traditionally sweet-toothed Hong Kong and China consumers. The taste for chocolate and treats is such that China is now the world's second largest confectionary market.

Other exhibitors from California at HK Food Expo 2014 include Initiative Foods, Drunken Dragon, North America Food Company, Watlington Foods LLC, Guglielmo Winery, Premier Organics and Poindexter Nut.

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