Produce notes: New £3m facility in North East will become produce hub

Winter vegetables

Saying he wants to create a "one-stop, fresh produce hub of the future", CEO John Holland is about to launch a new 25,000-square-foot facility in the North East that will operate as a wholesale stop for retailers, foodservice and universities.

A replacement for the struggling North East Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market at the Team Valley site in Gateshead, the £3 million building revamp is the brainchild of Holland, who runs J R Holland Group.

"I want to bring the fresh produce community together under one roof where they can be inspired, where they can network and do business together," Holland said. "The fresh produce hub will shorten supply chains, reduce food miles and ultimately drive forward our industry into a new era of growth. The specialist knowledge and customer and supplier relationships we have developed through 40 years in the sector are fundamental to the core of our business, and I want to build upon this to create a new go-to place for everybody's fresh produce needs."

According to reports, the facility is expected to move some 100,000 fresh fruit and vegetable items through its doors each week.

Sainsbury's expanding store hours before Christmas: To further promote safe shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK retailer is extending hours at 90% of its stores between 21st to 23rd December.

The supermarket chain has been out front in urging customers to shop alone during what it says is the busiest time of year. And it is giving them plenty of time to do that - by pushing its hours from 6am to midnight on those days as well as 6am to 7pm on Christmas Eve. Stores will be closed on Christmas Day.

“In a year like no other, we want to do everything we can to help our customers celebrate Christmas, making sure they have everything they need to make the festive season as special as possible," Clodagh Moriarty, Retail and Digital Director at Sainsbury’s, said. 

China wants tighter food guidelines: China is seeking to impose virtual ‘spot checks’ on incoming food imports in addition to tightening cold chain guidelines as part of its COVID-19 prevention measures, reports the online publication Food Navigator-Asia.

This is reportedly in response to both the approaching winter season and cases of the virus being discovered on frozen food items.

The news site stated that at least eight frozen food products were reported to test positive for COVID-19 between 6-13 November as well as five more which were reported on Nov 18.

China was reported to have said that it has found the virus on imports from about 20 countries including Russia, Indonesia, India, New Zealand.

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