US avocado business Mission Produce has revealed expansion plans to “double ripening capacity” and introduce mango operations to a UK site.
The expansion plans at the forward distribution centre in Dartford include the addition of 50% more “Mission Control ripening rooms”, a mango-specific operations area, as well as additional cold storage and warehouse space.
Mission Control is the company’s atmosphere-control ripening process, which is used to accelerate avocado ripening.
The company expects to finish the expansion by next summer.
Mission Produce is partnering with Cross Group, a temperature controls company, to add a “specialised mango sorting and packing line” to the facility.
Paul Frowde, managing director at Mission Produce’s Europe and UK business, said: “We’ve been growing our business in the UK by delivering on our commitment to be the go-to supplier of high-quality, ripe avocados– so with our facility expansion, we’re getting ready to grow even more and unlock the potential for mangos in the market.
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“We’re leveraging the capabilities of our global network and vertical integration to bring our customers the convenience of partnering with one supplier to expertly ripen both commodities, driven by our operational excellence.”
Just Food has contacted Mission Produce for details about production figures at the UK site.
Michael O’Sullivan, senior commercial manager at the UK arm, added: “Consistent quality is key to promoting a positive consumer experience with mangos, so we’re leaning on our mastery in the art of ripening and industry-leading technology to create that reliability.
“In the UK market, there is plenty of opportunity to drive demand for mangos. I believe that we’re well-positioned with a world-class supply chain to become the highest-quality product on the shelf.”
Earlier this year, California-based Mission Produce formed a joint venture with South Africa farming company ZZ2 Boerdery and private equity firm Criterion Africa Partners to increase its avocado supplies in Europe.
South Africa is the second largest summer-season avocado supplier to the UK and EU; its avocado season extends from February to November with most of the fruit being harvested from March to September, according to the country’s growers’ association.