Freshmark is the Group’s fruit and vegetable procurement, buying and distribution arm and is a substantial business in its own right. It supplies fresh produce fruit and vegetables to Group stores within South Africa, and most of its outlets in other parts of the continent. Currently one of the largest purchasers of fresh produce in Africa, Freshmark also imports fruit and vegetables when needed to ensure a wider variety and continuity of traditionally seasonal fresh produce.
The majority of the Group’s fresh produce requirements are sourced directly from local producers with the focus on a fresh promise to the customer. This practice also reduces transport and packaging costs. Extensive effort goes into establishing a local network of suppliers and this objective is followed through across the continent as the Shoprite Group expands into Africa.
Freshmark operates its own network of distribution centers; negotiates production contracts with over 1114 growers and 95% of its fresh produce is sourced locally, in support of the communities it serves; sources specialty fruit and vegetables on local and international markets; and plays a key role in equipping emerging farmers with the knowledge and skills to produce and meet international GLOBALG.A.P. standards.
Management stays in touch with the latest international research about new and improved varietals and products and these are introduced to the Group’s markets. Packaging standards are continuously reviewed to ensure it meets local and international requirements and standards and answers in the nutritional and recycling information needs of the consumer.
International food safety auditors regularly audit all farmers on GLOBALG.A.P. and GMP standards and our own distribution facilities on HACCP standards to ensure they comply with the food safety standards set.
Freshmark’s food safety team has put into place a quality assurance programme that is built around produce quality standards and food safety. These important principles are enforced in all distribution centers and at producer facilities.
Freshmark supplies the extensive “Padkos” range of dried fruit, nuts, seeds and snack items for consumers on the go.