This morning we produced our new Monthly Product Report, based on the data generated by our fortnightly benchmarking inspections. For those who have not come across this before now, we purchase a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables from a selection of the biggest retailers in the UK, and carry out quality inspections to assess the products for all of the most common quality criteria to determine what the level of quality is once produce reaches consumers.
The standard we use incorporates the general requirements of the EU marketing standards, along with the most normal 'industry standard' quality requirements based on our experience in conducting inspections on fresh produce over the last 25 years. Overall, this project, going into it's third full year, has told us that on average 90% of what we purchase is exactly what it should be, and of the 10% which does show some defects, only 2-3% shows defects that will have a significant impact on useability of the pack.
One of several new developments in this project for the coming year is the use of the data to look in greater detail at individual products, the first of which is our quality report covering Oranges from Jan 2015 to Dec 2015, a copy of which can be downloaded using this link. Should you find yourself wondering what the data might show for another product, one important to you, then feel free to get in touch and we'll happily prepare you a complimentary report.
The report tells us that the annual quality performance for oranges almost exactly mirrors that of the whole fresh produce sample that we've taken, with 91% of the sample of both meeting all quality expectations. While the monthly quality levels for our whole sample remain relatively stable, however, the performance for the single product has fluctuated more significantly, as you would expect from a smaller data set: defects in oranges were found in clusters in April-Jun and October-December.
With the vast majority of fruit on sale being sourced from either Spain or South Africa it is interesting to note that the defects found in April and May were predominantly on Spanish fruit before supply switches to South Africa in June, and then the reverse happens later in the year ahead of the return to Spanish product.
A range of fruit counts were seen during the year, as you would expect, from a pack of three very large fruit, up to packs of 10 smaller fruit. Our purchasing aims to select only what can be classed as a 'standard' pack of fruit, rather than the specific larger varieties, or the added value 'special' packs, so you would expect a range of sizes to be present through the year. In terms of popularity, count 5 packs were by some margin the most common, containing fruit in a range of sizes from 62mm-72mm bands at the smaller end up to 84mm-89mm bands at the larger end of the scale. The quality of the popular count 5 was good, with the larger packs of 10 smaller fruit contributing a disproportionate number of the quality defects found through the year.
There is more to see in the report itself, which you can download here, and we will produce another piece next month on another product covered by our benchmarking inspections. In the meantime, don't forget you can get in touch to request a complimentary report on firstname.lastname@example.org and if we have been inspecting the product we'll send it straight out to you.