Foyle Fruit is a wholesaler of fresh fruit, vegetables, prepped vegetables/ fruit as well as a ambient produce range. They are based in the Skeoge Industrial Estate in Derry ~ Londonderry.
The company processes vegetables in various ways to meet consumer demand and as a result has invested in equipment specifically for their carrot batons. They identified an opportunity to assess their process to reduce food waste through vegetable optimisation. Therefore Foyle Fruit wanted support in this area to explore possible waste reduction measures to ensure that the produce they bring in is used to the maximum capacity within their business keeping waste and cost to a minimum.
In order to overcome this obstacle, Foyle Fruit made contact with North West Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by the Department for the Economy.
This provided 30 hours of 1:1 mentoring support from NWRC Foodovation Culinary Technical Consultant, Rita O’Kane, who provided upskilling in market benchmarking, organoleptic testing, recipe development, labelling and nutrition claims.
On completion of the project, Foyle Fruit successfully reduced their amount of food wastage through the assessment of shelf life of waste reduction measures. For example the use of excess carrots from the carrot baton are now used in Coleslaw Mix. They also managed to extend the shelf life of 5 of their products within the range allowing reducing in waste and a potential increase in sales.
Testimonial from Paul Larkin, Foyle Fruit, described the benefits of working with NWRC’s Foodovation Centre via the InnovateUs programme:
”After first hearing about the Foodovation Centre from our Environmental Health Officer, and making contact with the college, we as a company are more than satisfied with the help and support we received from Rita regarding the use of waste from our products as well as on the shelf life of our products.”