Pile of carrots© Tim Scrivener

The relentless demands on producers arising from the continuing struggle between multiples for market share is proving difficult for some businesses.

Larger grower/packer operations continue to consolidate and grow, says Andersons director Jay Wootton.

“The survivors are taking on greater commitment, operating in a high-risk environment.

The evidence suggests a profit of only 0-2% of turnover is achieved by a number of businesses in this sector on a regular basis.”

Continued development of consumption in 2017 will drive greater investment that meets standards for fresh chilled product and fulfil continuity of supply.

Business pointers 

  • Grower base consolidation continues
  • High-risk business – low returns on turnover
  • Big questions over free movement of labour

See also: Secrets of successful leek crops

The effect of rising labour costs is compounded by the Brexit decision, says Mr Wootton. “The fresh produce industry will be watching nervously how free movement of labour is tackled.

“The Living Wage and Auto Enrolment, along with the potential restriction of labour from overseas, could lead to massive change in the level of automation in the industry.”

Andersons Outlook

The Farmers Weekly outlook articles are based on Andersons Outlook 2017. Copies of the full publication can be downloaded from the Andersons website by clicking on ‘Publications & Events’. Alternatively, request a printed copy by telephoning 01664 503 200.

Andersons is running a series of seminars in the spring looking at the prospects for UK agriculture in greater detail.

3 March – RAF Club, Piccadilly, London

7 March – Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire

8 March – Westmorland, J36 Auction Centre, Kendal

9 March – Carfraemill Lodge Hotel, Lauder, Berwickshire

10 March – York Racecourse, York, North Yorkshire

14 March – Yew Lodge Hotel, Kegworth Leicestershire

15 March – Perth Racecourse, Perth

17 March – Newmarket Racecourse, Newmarket, Suffolk

21 March – East of England Showground, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

22 March – Salisbury Racecourse, Salisbury, Wiltshire

23 March – Exeter Racecourse, Exeter, Devon

24 March – Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

More information please on the Andersons website