Hereford, UK: Fruit grower AJ and CI Snell has constructed a new cold store with a mobile pallet racking system supplied and installed by SSI Schaefer. Snell produces 1300 tonnes of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries a year and 700 tonnes of blackcurrants for juice processing.
The company operates a 2000-tonne capacity packhouse and, along with the new pallet freezer store, offers blast freezing facilities and puree production as well as contract storage and packing for local growers.
SSI Schaefer was involved in sizing and designing the new cold store. The mobile pallet racking system holds up to 900 standard (Chep) pallets enabling Snell to maximise its storage capacity for frozen fruit while at the same time minimising the refrigeration overhead. There is also a free standing area for bulk Dolav bin storage, to be stacked, taking the total capacity to over 1000 pallets
Bob Jane, Dynamic Systems sales manager, SSI Schaefer said: “Although we regularly supply systems for use in temperature-controlled environments, this is the first time we have installed mobile pallet racking to efficiently store soft fruits.”
Snell’s core business is the supply of fresh fruit to supermarkets but the extensive cold store enables the business to build stock for supply outside of the traditional growing season.
Snell’s customer base includes a number of well-known high street names such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco and, being the largest organic blackcurrant grower in the UK, the company also supplies produce to food processing operations including Yeo Valley and Ribena for Lucozade Ribena Suntory.
Anthony Snell, co-owner of the business, said: “After considering a number of alternatives, we chose a mobile racking system because it provided us with the space efficiency required to minimise our freezer running costs.
The installation was effected very smoothly and the system is problem-free and easy to operate. Our confidence in the high quality of the SSI Schaefer equipment further justifies the long term investment”. He says: “The building provides us with enough capacity to offer the benefits of cold storage to other organisations in the area who may be looking for a facility to store frozen produce.”