Waveney Mushrooms is a co-operative of mushroom growers based close to the Norfolk / Suffolk border. The group was formed in 1990 by a close-knit band of longstanding mushroom growers, who could see that their best hope of survival was to create a marketing group large enough to supply the major national retailers.
Waveney Mushrooms' pack house is registered and an approved user of the 'Red Tractor' brand. The group run its own fleet refrigerated lorries ensuring that they retain the control of care to the customer from farm to fork. They are BRC (British Retail Consortium) accredited with the most recent audit demonstrating a grade AA approval.
Sales now average 80 tons of fresh picked mushrooms every week. Their major customers are Aldi and Spar, although they also supply to larger wholesalers and catering suppliers in the Eastern region.
The farms have expanded under second and third generation family management with the latest expansion involving the purchase and build of a modern pack house and refrigerated storage facility. Each farm holds Farm Assured Certification too and as a group they employ approaching 200 staff who are involved in picking, packing and delivering fresh mushrooms to customers.
Mushrooms contain up to 98% water and perish rapidly and have a limited shelf-life, frequently for only 1 to 3 days at room temperature so fast cold storage and packing from picking is essential.
Mechanical damage is caused throughout the whole process. Starting with harvesting, cleaning, packaging, storage, and transportation. Fungal and microbial damage is caused by changes in temperature, humidity, and/or the composition of the air atmosphere surrounding the product.
Packaging fulfils an indispensable task in the food industry: without it, most food products have a limited shelf life. It protects contents against harmful influences and guarantees a longer shelf life and food safety. These important functions are fulfilled with modern packaging materials like flow wrap with significantly less material input than just a few years and decades ago. Flow wrap has the advantage over stretch wrap as it is more gentle on mushrooms in particular, reducing bruising and prolonging shelf life.
In addition to the benefits for the environment, packaging mushrooms in flow packs also helps in the marketing of the product. There are almost no limits to the possibilities for the use of printed foils and by using your own design on the sale, the product can be given a clear distinctive character. All this contributes to greater and more noticeable visibility, differentiating the products on the shelf.
Waveney Mushrooms required a solution to reduce wastage and increase throughputs of punnets of mushrooms from 200 to 650grams.
Redpack flow wrapping machines complete with auto infeed’s configured to wrap punnets of mushrooms from an upline weigh checked supply.
Rhys Evans from Waveney Mushrooms commented:
“I just wanted to say thank you for all your help with the installation of our second flow wrap machine.”
“As was the case with our first machine installation your team were great to work with and were very efficient in getting the new machine up and running. In fact, the down time was reduced significantly compared to the first install.”
“After the install having your technician Brad on site gave piece of mind to my Team Leader and thanks to his guidance and instruction, they are already comfortable with the new machine.”
“Now we have flow wrap for all of our lines has made a real improvement to the shelf life of the mushrooms we were still using the over wrap for.”
“The feedback from our customers has been very positive regarding the look of the product on display as well as the reduced wastage.”
“Our own wastage in the packhouse has also reduced now we are not using the over wrapper at all. Overall, it has been great working with you again.”