A Midlands logistics business has come to the aid of farmers who faced the freakish 2018 weather that caused a scary scarcity of ‘monster’ pumpkins, carved by millions of families every year.
Coventry-based IPP, part of Pooling Partners, Europe’s leading integrated pooler and producer of sustainable wooden pallets to the logistics sector, has rallied behind its pumpkin growing customers this Halloween by moving pallet deliveries to different UK farms in order to source supplies to meet stringent retail quotas.
IPP, which manufacturers more than 20 million pallets every year and also helps deliver tens of millions of confectionery buckets for doorstep ‘trick or treaters’, works with market gardeners and growers across the country to deliver the gourds into the nation’s supermarkets.
The unseasonably warm, dry summer, hot on the heels of a freezing spring and the so–called ‘Beast from the East,’ has meant that monster pumpkin numbers were down by tens of thousands, with the majority only growing to a small size.
Two of its growers, K J Curson and Barfoots of Botley Ltd, deliver between two and three million pumpkins to the retail sector ahead of Halloween, all of which are carried on IPP pool pallets.
“It’s been tough to find the volume for monsters,” said David Cooper, logistics manager for Barfoots.
“We normally source our larger pumpkins from our farms in Hampshire, but we have had to look to other farms in East Anglia and Lincolnshire to fulfil the demand as we were around 100,000 short from our Hampshire farm.
“We have been delighted with the support from IPP which has provided the logistics support to make sure that the right number of pallets are with the right growers at the right time during this busy time,” he said.
During the year Barfoots use in excess of 180,000 pallets, almost 40,000 of which are sent during the peak months of September and October for the popular pumpkin market.
Phil Storer, Director for Pooling Partners, said: “Halloween is an important time of year for growers and we are on standby to make sure that even extreme logistical demands are met , which can throw up a number of challenges as the witching hour approaches. Planning and communication is imperative to this seasonal operation and makes sure there are no scary scenarios or things that go bump in the night at Halloween.”