Matthew Churchill Discusses New Sustainability Avenues for Westfalia Fruit Group
LONDON, ENGLAND - The multinational Westfalia Fruit Group is adding to a long heritage of sustainability as it enters into new avenues to prevent produce waste, possibilities for packaging, and more.
A trusted supplier of fresh and processed produce to international markets, offering a wide range of quality fruit through our vertically integrated supply chain, the group is much more than a vendor, Matthew Churchill, Global Brand Manager at Westfalia Fruit, tells me.
“Our industry-leading, sustainable packaging initiatives were released in the summer of 2021 in France, in advance of the law introduced on the 1st of January 2022, banning plastic packaging on most fruit and vegetables. We adopted a proactive approach to remove plastic packaging, facilitating compliance well in advance of the change in law whilst offering a range of solutions for our customers and consumers,” Matthew explains.
Now, going a step further into alternative opportunities, Westfalia Fruit’s business in the U.K. is supplying ground avocado seeds to the premium beauty brand Dr. Craft for use within part of a range of cosmetics.
“Now, for the first time, after three years of research, development and product testing, ground avocado seeds are being used in beauty products replacing the now banned and environmentally harmful plastic microbeads,” Matthew shares. “Westfalia holds a long history of identifying and implementing pioneering, innovative, and industry leading methods to reduce inputs and waste. We continuously seek to utilize the entire crop for its most optimum use—the objective to create a virtuous circle of production. The new Avocado Dr. Craft range has demonstrated proof of concept that the versatile fruit can be used not only in food but also as a replacement for microplastics within cosmetics, with a plethora of other work streams in the process of development for use within a wide range of industries.”
These industry-leading initiatives were stringently researched to find the right solutions for customers and consumers alike, and Matthew assures me that the feedback has been highly positive, with solutions implemented to suit changing needs, across a range of product types, offering product protection in a manner similar to that of previously used plastic packaging.
This adds to a legacy the group began when it was founded by Dr. Hans Merensky, a visionary prospector who acquired the Westfalia Estate in the Limpopo province of South Africa in 1929.
“Through the Trust he established in 1949, Dr. Merensky assured the perpetuation of his work, which continue to underpin our approach today. These practices, premised on the legacy of Dr. Hans Merensky, who remains an iconic figure in the history of the avocado industry, are at the heart of all that is done by the Group ‘To Do Good,’” Matthew says.
Now, Westfalia has one of the largest geographic footprints of avocado production in the world, sourcing both from its own and partner orchards. Within its network, it ripens and packs the fruit to ensure year-round customer satisfaction, supplying retail, wholesale, and foodservice customers.
Westfalia Fruit Group operates sales offices in the U.K., Europe, North America, Latin America, and Southern Africa, making for a truly global network. With a plethora of sustainability work streams, not limited to packaging, food waste diversion, water use optimization, soil preservation and biodiversity encouragement—there is much to eye this far-reaching operation for as our industry continues to innovate.