Tesco to sell "wonky" vegetables in a bid to cut food waste
Tesco is to sell irregular shaped carrots and mushrooms which would usually be thrown away.

IFA Horticulture Chairman Gerard Reilly says Tesco's move to purchase and sell irregular shaped vegetables has the potential to cut waste at farm level and to increase the proportion of produce farmers can sell for consumption.

Named "Wonky Veg", Tesco today announced they will sell carrots and mushrooms in specially marked "Wonky Veg" packs. This will give shoppers the opportunity to choose which vegetables they would like to purchase, rather than the supermarket rejecting them because of their irregular shape or size.

Every year millions of kilos of vegetables are thrown away or used as animal feed if they are classified as an irregular shape or size. Tesco Ireland buys nearly five million packs of Irish carrots every year sourced from two growers; Leo Dunne in Co Laois and John Dockrell’s in Co Wexford. Closed cup mushrooms are sourced from Codd Mushrooms in Co Carlow and Kerrigan’s Mushrooms in Co Meath.

One of the 50 Irish suppliers that showcased food products at the Tesco tent at the 2014 National Ploughing Championships, mushroom grower Leslie Codd welcomed the move by Tesco. He said: “Every year Irish vegetable growers discard millions of kilos of produce on the grounds of appearance. The reason for this is that customers have become used to buying perfect looking vegetables.

"The reality of the situation is that the 5-10% of vegetables that never make it to the retail shelf are perfectly fine. They may look a little bit odd, or wonky, but they taste every bit as good as the perfect looking produce we are used to buying. If customers bought this wonky looking veg more, it would greatly reduce wastage at farm level,” he added.

Tesco Ireland’s Fresh Buyer, Sinead McDonogh, commented: “These wonky veg mushrooms and carrots might not win a beauty contest but they are perfect for juicing or Autumn stews. There is scope for us to add more fruit and vegetables to this wonky veg line in the future but we will trial the offer first with carrots and mushrooms with a view to expanding the range depending on the response from customers. We don’t want our customers to compromise on quality, wonky veg just looks slightly different on the outside.”

However, IFA's Reilly also warned that returns to growers are currently at or below the cost of production, leaving no margin for reinvestment, weather issues or variable yields. "If the major retail multiples in this country are serious about having a sustainable fresh produce sector and ensuring a reliable supply of safe, home-grown food, they must show greater responsibility and offer a fair price to growers," he said.

Kerry Group announces acquisitions worth €325m
Kerry is set to acquire Ariake USA and Southeastern Mills North American coatings and seasonings business (SEM).

Kerry Group has announced the acquisition of two north American businesses worth a combined €325m.

Kerry is set to acquire Ariake USA and Southeastern Mills North American coatings and seasonings business (SEM).

The two businesses are said to have a revenue of approximately €125m and Kerry will finance both acquisitions from existing lines of credit.

Acquisitions

Ariake USA is the North American division of Ariake Japan Co. It produces natural clean-label taste products derived from poultry, pork and vegetables from its facility in Virginia.

A Kerry spokesperson said: “This acquisition further enhances Kerry's extensive authentic taste and clean label portfolio, whilst also complementing the Group's from-food-for-food heritage.”

The second business, SEM, has a manufacturing base located in Georgia and Kerry said it further developed their offering into the meat end use market.

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Aryzta forecasts moderate profit growth for 2019
The bakery giant is forecasting profit growth to be in the mid to high single digits for 2019.

Speciality bakery group Aryzta has forecast earnings growth (EBITDA) will be in the mid to high single digits for its 2019 financial year. The embattled bakery giant reported organic sales growth of 0.3% for the first quarter of its 2019 financial year on Monday as revenues reached €862.3m. A 0.6% decline in sales volumes was more than offset by a 0.9% increase in pricing.

Reported revenue was down more than 5% year on year, which is mainly due to business disposals in the last year. Aryzta reported organic sales growth of 2% in its European business to reach €430.3m for the quarter, while sales grew by almost 8% in its rest of world division to €65m.

Aryzta’s business in North America continues to struggle due to ongoing cost inflation, particularly in terms of labour costs. Organic sales in Aryzta’s North America division fell almost 3% year on year to €367m as sales volumes fell 2% and prices dropped 1%.

Capital raise

Earlier this month, Aryzta completed a €740m capital raise after issuing new shares in the company. Management in Aryzta intend to use this fresh capital injection to reduce net debts in the business by €1bn over the next four years as well as implement a turnaround plan for Aryzta known as Project Renew.

As part of Project Renew, Aryzta will invest €150m over the next three years to deliver €200m in savings by 2021. Most of the €150m will be invested in automation in Aryzta’s bakeries, which Aryzta management forecast will result in cost savings of €90m per annum post 2021.

Aryzta chief executive Kevin Toland said the company is continuing to address the challenges and reduce its cost base.

“We remain resolutely focused on our core, the frozen B2B bakery market and have the management team and resolve to implement what is a multi-year turnaround strategy,” said Toland.

FBD opens new office in ‘the real capital’
FBD Insurance opened its new office in Cork City this Friday.

FBD’s new office is located on the South Mall in Cork City.

To celebrate the office opening, customers and friends of FBD Insurance were invited to an event in the office where chief executive Fiona Muldoon and Ireland and Munster rugby legend Alan Quinlan, along with Cork branch manager Morgan McGuire, cut the ribbon at the front door to mark the occasion.

New office

Some of the staff who were in the office on Curraheen Road, Bishopstown, will now be working in the new office.

FBD has 34 local sales offices, including five in the county of Cork. This makes “Cork the ‘real capital’ as far as FBD is concerned,” Muldoon said at the opening.

“Cork is a very important growth market for FBD Insurance.

"FBD is celebrating 50 years in business in Ireland and we are proud of the strength of our customer relationships in Cork city and county,” Muldoon said.

“Our Cork city branch manager Morgan McGuire and his team look forward to offering great service and value to even more of Cork’s businesses and citizens.”

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