Case study: AGRIFresh

AGRIFresh’s ‘a-peel-ing’ equipment solution supports a sustainability strategy all year ‘rind’ for the citrus grower

AGRIFresh has been a family owned and operated citrus and mango grower in Western Australia (WA) since 2005. They provide a variety of fruits to the Australian market, from their two orchards strategically located 200km north of Perth.

With a total planting area of 310ha, 265ha is dedicated to citrus production, including Navel oranges and mandarins, and 45ha in Dandaragan, is for mangoes. AgriFresh are understood to have the largest seedless citrus orchard in the state and the largest southern mango plantation, with a total of 33,000 trees.

“We’ve been partnering with CHEP for many years due to their reliability, supply chain efficiencies, and shared sustainability values."

Joseph Ling Managing Director, AGRIFresh

AGRIFresh managing director Joseph Ling, spoke to CHEP about AGRIFresh’s operations, their longstanding partnership with CHEP and what is next for his business.

“We’ve been partnering with CHEP for many years due to their reliability, supply chain efficiencies, and shared sustainability values. During peak harvest periods we need to flex and scale up our supply of CHEP bins and pallets and we have been able to rely on CHEP to be there with the platforms we need, when we need them”.

After the fruit is picked AGRIFresh use CHEP FB4 bins, Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs or crates) in the packing shed, to sort and ship fruits and juices to customers.

Mr Ling said “The bins come to us hygienically washed and once the fruit is picked and packed they are the only touch point until the fruit reaches the store or the Perth Markets. This reduces unnecessary damage.”

“CHEP bins, crates and pallets work for our business because they are widely accepted, cost effective and more sustainable and efficient than purchasing a single-use one-way pallet or cardboard bin. This is important to us as it helps ensure our products are available to consumers and strengthens our relationship with our distributors and the retailers.”

“Sustainability is one of our business priorities and having a supplier like CHEP who understands this and has the same sustainability priorities, is of high value to us and our supply chain. We know that our customers appreciate that their citrus fruits and mangoes are coming from a sustainable supply chain.”

One of AGRIFresh’s key sustainability initiatives is to reduce food waste in the supply chain. Through the Perth Markets, excess fruit is sent to Foodbanks so that it can be used to feed vulnerable Australians.

AGRIFresh’s recent partnership with a biogas company has helped it use any leftover fruit to generate energy. “It’s incredible that we’re able to avoid good food going to landfill in our supply chain and instead use it to generate a sustainable energy resource”, commented Mr Ling.

He went on to say that, “by applying modern technology and management, AGRIFresh is a model of controlled efficiency and our well-managed production processes reap both commercial and environmental benefits - chiefly water conservation. Water savings are well above the industry norm - contributing towards the long-term sustainability of water resources in WA.”

AGRIFresh has heavily invested in a state-of-the-art packing facility. With a footprint of 2 acres (8000sqm), it is fully equipped with colour, size, and blemish grading equipment and a cool room facility. This is a commitment towards ensuring quality control of the "cold chain" from orchard to market.

‘Sharing the freshness of WA’ is at the heart of AGRIFresh, where their vision is to grow and package consistent, high quality and premium fresh fruits, becoming the preferred supplier to merchants, exporters, importers, and food outlets, both in Australia and international markets

AGRIFresh believe that they are on track to become one of the biggest citrus players in WA and are firmly committed to their 15-year plan to establish a fully integrated business for the growing, packing and marketing of WA citrus produce, meeting both local demand and supply to premium international markets.

“We are always looking ahead, planning, and thinking of the next season to ensure that we can meet the demands of our customers. We predominately grow navel oranges, seedless mandarins, mangoes and soon we’ll be expanding by offering seedless lemons and passionfruit to our growing customer base, which is exciting for our team," Mr Ling said.

AGRIFresh exports to 16 international markets under the brand Zestie, one of several major brands in the local and overseas markets, Mr Ling said. “WA's competitiveness on the international market rests in its location and clean and green image. I believe that WA and Australia have better growing conditions because of our sun units, heat units, water quality and soil type.”

What CHEP customers achieve each year through the sharing and reuse of CHEP platforms:

  • 1.8 million trees are left on the planet.
  • 2 million tonnes of C02 never enter the atmosphere.
  • 3,500 megalitres of water remains in our waterways.
  • 1.3 million tonnes of trash never make it to landfills.

Source: Brambles Sustainability Review 2020

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Case study: AGRIFresh | CHEP