News

field of basil - how we work with our customers

How We Work with Our Wholesale and Retail Customers

How We Work with Our Wholesale and Retail Customers 1500 833 R&G Fresh

At R&G FRESH, we believe in standing out from the crowd in everything we do.

Our wholesale and retail customers can expect exceptional service and industry-leading fresh produce time after time.

Maintaining this level of excellence requires continual investment, so we work hard building and maintaining both our standards and our relationships. Here is how we ensure that all our wholesale and retail customers get the most out of their relationship with us.

Customer, consumer and behaviour insights

Our consumer insights strategy is built on 60 years of experience and extensive market research. This work gives us an advantage when it comes to understanding what consumers want, their cooking habits and shopping behaviour. This knowledge allows us to create specific growth plans for our wholesale and retail customers, taking into consideration their market, store type, customer profile and purchasing habits.

As a result, when we work with our wholesale and retail customers, we are able to provide them with a totally bespoke service, tailored to their target customer profile(s) and behaviour.

Bunches of herbs on a wooden chopping board - we provide bespoke service to our wholesale and retail customers

Freshness sealed

We have great knowledge of our products and know how flavour is affected by quality and freshness. Based on this knowledge, we are continually investing in developing the best way of keeping our herbs and ingredients as fresh as the day they were picked.

The result of this ongoing research is our passive Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) format used across our entire range, specific by line, to give greater shelf-life.

MAP is customised to the metabolism of the herb or ingredient, tailored to make each item last longer. It relies on micro-perforations in the bag, allowing the produce to ‘breathe’. The packaging considers the difference in metabolism during summer and winter too.

We have also optimised the amount of packaging we use, reducing it wherever possible. As a result, we use 16% less packaging than we did five years ago.

Optimising at the source

As part of our ongoing effort to provide premium fresh herbs and ingredients, we have invested in organoleptic testing to understand flavour profiles of herb varieties. Herb flavour is determined by the amount of aromatic oils contained within. Soil quality, weather and temperature all affect this and with this understanding, we work closely with our suppliers to ensure the end user has the best possible product all year round.

Once we find the right suppliers, we invest in them. For example, we’ve been working closely with our Basil growers since mid-2000, enabling them to increase their basil yields and adding value to their processes.

As a result, not only do we maintain excellent product quality, we also make sure that our growers are well remunerated and supported to ensure sustainability.

Harvesting basil - We ensure excellent product quality for our customers

Waste reduction is one of our key priorities as part of our commitment to the environment. Not only to do we strive to reduce packaging, but we also make sure we aren’t wasting produce.

Product that is out of specification means that we have to invest time and effort correcting the discrepancies in quantities, which can prove wasteful. Working with customers at every step of the way, we programme and forecast requirements so that we don’t overorder or transport waste. By making sure the product is the right specification at the time of order, we can use the majority of what we purchase.

We can proudly say we sell 96% of all the raw produce we buy through our sustainable sourcing strategy and as a result, our customers can be assured of our focus on environmental issues.

When you work with R&G FRESH, you get market-leading, fresh produce that is sourced and packed with a focus on the end-user and the environment.

If you’d like to learn more about how we work with our buyers, you can read about it on this page. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us for more information.

Taking Care of Our Staff During COVID-19

Taking Care of Our Staff During COVID-19 1024 569 R&G Fresh

At R&G FRESH, we are committed to providing our employees with a workplace in which they can flourish.

We invest in their training and development so they can grow professionally. Additionally, we encourage an open and honest environment so everyone has a voice and is heard.

However, employee welfare is not just about taking care of their professional needs. We also take care of their health and well-being at all times, but more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How did we support staff well-being during COVID-19?

When we first heard about the new pandemic, we reviewed our working practises to make sure they abided by the Government guidelines. More importantly, we adapted them to ensure that our staff stayed safe and healthy at all times.

Here’s how we supported staff well-being during COVID-19.

A complete risk assessment

Our first step was identifying all possible areas of risk and creating systems and procedures to safeguard against them. We looked for ways to support our employees during COVID-19 and this included ensuring that we minimised chances of virus transmission.

Social distancing

We encouraged employees who could work from home to do so until the end of August. Any non-essential visits to and from the site were put on hold.

We set up portable toilet facilities so external drivers didn’t have to enter the building. Furthermore, we held all meetings online, using Microsoft Teams.

If a meeting couldn’t be held virtually, we made sure the meeting room was well-ventilated and everyone maintained a 2-metre distance.

Monitoring and reporting symptoms

Line managers were instructed to maintain regular contact with the staff members. They were equipped with thermometers and if anyone showed any signs of COVID-19, as specified by the NHS, they were to be sent home to self-isolate until they had passed the quarantine duration or tested negative for Covid-19.

If an infection was confirmed through testing, the management team was instructed to contact the Public Health Authority and help them identify those who may have come in contact with the person.

These measures were designed to keep every one of our people safe from the infection whilst they were at work.

Increasing awareness

In order to remind people of the steps to take for their own welfare, we placed posters in strategic positions. These displayed advice for the food industry and ensured staff and visitors were aware of how to prevent infection.

For even more comprehensive awareness training, we held regular briefings to remind our employees of the importance of social distancing and hand washing.

Additionally, we ensured our staff had facilities to wash their hands with soap and water regularly. Where this was not possible, we provided hand sanitisers.

Finally, we provided them with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that was to be worn as standard, including gloves, overalls, hairnets and aprons.

Environmental hygiene

To reduce the need to touch surfaces, we left all possible doors propped open. On top of that, we increased how often frequently-touched points were cleaned and disinfected.

We also started a monthly antiviral bio-misting in all shared areas and offices in an attempt to disinfect all possible surfaces and any airborne aerosol particles.

Changes in procedures

In order to ensure a contactless way of working, we revised a number of procedures. If employees could eat in their cars at lunch, we encouraged this to avoid overpopulating the canteen. For work areas where social distancing was difficult, we re-oriented workbenches so employees could stand side by side rather than facing each other.

At the end of the day, factory staff were instructed to leave in small groups so locker rooms and exits weren’t overcrowded.

Essential boxes for our staff on site

We also took some additional employee welfare measures for COVID-19 that supported their mental health along with the physical protection we were providing.

When we entered the lockdown, the whole structure of foodservice and hospitality changed dramatically. Hospitality, in particular, was devastated by restaurants and bars being closed and events and travel being cancelled.

The wholesale markets across the UK, as well as the rest of the world, had to adapt. Due to this, New Covent Garden Market in London saw a dramatic shift in operations, with many tenants switching to deliveries direct to the public.

We are quite proud of our staff, as they worked diligently to maintain a supply of fresh herbs and ingredients to our suppliers. In order to show our appreciation for their hard work, we provided them with essential boxes of their own.

Within a week of the lockdown, all our on-site staff had received a box of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the following week, they received a box of essential grocery items, including milk, bread, eggs and butter. This continued for two months until shopping items became more accessible.

With this token of appreciation, we aimed to communicate to our staff just how much their hard work meant to the company and that their welfare mattered to us.

Whilst the lockdown has been an uncertain time, we ensured that our staff were supported throughout. When the lockdown is lifted, we plan to emerge stronger than ever and continue to deliver excellence, like we’ve been doing for over five decades.

If you’d like to learn more about the team at R&G FRESH, you can do so here. For additional information, whether about our COVID-19 measures or our fresh produce, get in touch with us.

COVID-19 Secure

COVID-19 Secure 1500 833 R&G Fresh

R&G FRESH has always been committed to prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of our team. This commitment continues with the current operating environment and taking into account the requirements relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the pandemic, we have thoroughly reviewed our working practices across the business and for all roles and taken the steps necessary to make them compatible with government guidance to ensure safe workplaces. We will continue to review the guidance provided to us as it develops over time and will make the changes and developments recommended. We are also consulting with our team and asking for feedback from them on an ongoing basis, so that they are confident that R&G FRESH is doing all it can to make their workspaces a safe and pleasant place to be.

Carbon Footprint Challenge

Carbon Footprint Challenge 1500 833 R&G Fresh

A carbon footprint measures the impact of our actions on the environment – a chief symptom of climate change. R&G FRESH is committed to low impact environmental activity and has actively pursued a strategy of dramatically reducing its carbon footprint by 2022.

“There are a number of areas that we are focussing on” commented Mathew Prestwich, Managing Director at R&G FRESH, “a focus on packaging is key and we are assessing all forms of materials that can be recycled, composted, or are biodegradable, but this won’t be a quick fix. It is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each, including acceptability for use (does it protect the product?) and then the ease of use from the consumers perspective. Plastic isn’t only about packaging and we are carrying our extensive plastics audits across the entire business and supply chain. We are also working closely with all suppliers to make sure we use the fresh produce we buy – this means that we don’t overproduce, we don’t transport waste and dispose of excess product which would mean wasted energy across the whole supply chain.”

“In addition to the operational elements of carbon reduction, energy use at Hawley Lane is carefully monitored. All of the energy consumed comes from renewable sources and plans are ongoing to harness solar energy to provide up to 60% of the annual electricity use.”

Amjad Hussain, R&G FRESH’s Supply Chain Manager has been researching agricultural initiatives as a way of reducing R&G FRESH’s carbon footprint. ‘Packaging is a major part of the solution; other ways we’re looking at minimising our carbon overhead is by lowering inputs such as efficient use of water usage, fertilise, allowing the crops to grow for longer, thus increasing the length of the product and getting bigger yields per acre of crop by utilising specs to use all of the plant.’

In summary, Amjad explained: ‘As a customer you don’t necessarily spend much time looking at the packaging of fresh produce, or the cultivation techniques, but there’s a lot of technical competence and thought that goes into making sure the herbs are at their freshest – in a way that impacts on the environment as little as possible.’

HEAD OFFICE

7 Chancerygate Way, Hawley Lane
Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 8FF

Tel: +44 (0)1483 474041
Fax: +44 (0)1483 476371
E-mail: info@rgfresh.co.uk

COVENT GARDEN

Stand C65 Buyers Walk, The Pavilion
New Covent Garden Market London SW8 5DZ

Tel: +44 (0)20 7720 6990
Fax: +44 (0)20 7720 6990
E-mail: info@rgfresh.co.uk

POLICIES

SOCIAL