“Early on, I didn’t really understand the CHEP program, but two years after we started with CHEP, we went with them 100 percent,” says Hussey, co-founder, Sweet Mama. “The CHEP pallet is simply better to ship on. It’s food safe, there’s a lot less damage, it stores in the warehouse better, and it’s a consistent size.”
In 2018, with the partnership flourishing, Sweet Mama expanded its work with CHEP, joining the CHEP pallet storage program. Sweet Mama now stores more than 30,000 pallets on-site during the off season, so they’re ready to go at harvest time.
“We used to have problems estimating how many pallets we’d need and when,” Hussey says. “The storage program has solved all those problems.”
Hussey, also a leader in the Florida Watermelon Association, has been in the produce industry more than 40 years, witnessing a true evolution in the supply chain. The farmers he works with have gone from packing watermelon in bulk, surrounded by straw, to using CHEP’s pooled pallets.
In eight years of partnership, Sweet Mama Produce has utilized 537,000 CHEP pallets and generated substantial sustainability savings.
- Removed 228,235 pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere, the equivalent of planting and growing 2,685 trees for 10 years.
- Eliminated 302,471 pounds of solid waste from landfill.
- Cut out inefficiency and eradicated empty transport miles.
Today, the progress continues. In 2019, Sweet Mama started using CHEP’s managed recovery program. With this new program, Sweet Mama receives CHEP pallets directly from distribution centers and retailers; sorts them using CHEP quality standards; stores the pallets that pass the test; and returns the rest to CHEP for repair before reuse. With recovered and stored pallets on hand, Sweet Mama is eliminating waste, improving efficiencies and eradicating empty miles.
“We are in an agricultural business,” Hussey says. “Our community has always taken care of the environment. I think CHEP does its part to help. When it comes to CHEP pallets, I’m a real believer.”