Fresh to Go

FOODBOWL

Fresh to Go is a Kiwi success story. Husband and wife team; David and Tracey Robinson had a vision to make ‘eating healthily’ more accessible for everyone.

Their salad-meals and healthy snacks are sold throughout New Zealand, including in the supermarket delis of Pak ‘n Save and New World, at numerous cafes, hospital cafes as well as online.

Fresh to Go ranges over 40 salads that can be delivered in multiple volumes. Their use of high pressure processing (HPP) means they are able to extend the shelf life of their product whilst ensuring food safety and integrity. The added shelf life translates to less discounting and writing off of inventory commonly seen with short shelf life products in the market.

Fresh to Go had historically been assembling salads at their own premises, then transporting them to a toll manufacturer for the HPP processing. When this external manufacturer closed down, they were in need of someone who could quickly assist with an HPP product. Because there are so few HPP machines in New Zealand and even less that are open access, they were fortunate the FoodBowl had an HPP machine they could use.

Their business had grown rapidly with the shelf life extension gained through the application of HPP technology, and without HPP and the shelf life extension achieved, their business model and customer expectations would be placed under significant pressure.

Fresh to Go required an interim solution to continue processing their products, while they looked into other options to sustain their business. Because purchasing an HPP machine requires a large capital investment up front, anywhere between $600,000 to $1.2M upfront cost, Fresh to Go wanted to be able to carefully consider such an investment, give themselves enough time to get the machine to an operating standard and become familiar with the general operation of an HPP machine themselves.

The FoodBowl was able to provide use of the HPP unit for Fresh to Go, with the flexibility to book in processing days based on their demands. By processing their product themselves at The FoodBowl, Fresh to Go worked with the FoodBowl Team to learn how to conduct a safe and efficient production run accompanied by robust procedures, which included Hazard and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Food Safety Plan (FSP) plans. They were able to adequately assess the real operational costs and logistics of running an HPP machine therefore making an informed decision. They were able to get a better insight into the suppliers and technological differences between machines.

Fresh to Go then took these skills and know-how and purchased an HPP machine for their own facility, confident of the standard operation procedures of the machine and the compliance documentation required when producing their product. Tracy says the advantage of using the FoodBowl was that, “We were able to understand the machinery and processes prior to purchasing our own HPP machine. This was useful in understand the complexities of how these machines operate, maintenance required and expertise level.’’