Changing the World by Enhancing Human Connection and Contact with Fresh Produce.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
HillJac Ventures Limited
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
FruPro comes from humble beginnings. The founders of FruPro; Will Hill, Joseph Hill, Reginald Jack and Damien Weedon have been in the fresh fruit and veg industry for decades, working with their family-run independent fruit and veg wholesale distribution and store - W.T.Hill and Sons - which has been around for over 100 years. Combining their family's extensive industry knowledge passed down from generation to generation, and passion for fresh produce, FruPro will deliver a global solution to change the way humans interact with fresh produce.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Southern England - a total area of approx 62,042 square kilometres
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
FruPro is innovative solution created by HillJac Ventures with the goal to revolutionize the fresh produce system. From sixth generation wholesaler, established importer, and exporter of the fresh fruit, from all around the world we have the experience and know the problem first hand.
The impact of the distribution, import and export of fresh produce in Southern England has repercussions around the world. We have a responsibility, within our post-colonial, hierarchical and patriarchal system (note: England's contribution to the present-day systemic issues is significant), to create solutions to the world's most pressing problems.
We believe that we have a powerful vision for system change. Our vision is strengthened with our experience and we are committed to revolutionizing the fresh produce industry in Southern England. We will lead by example, to solve problems today that will be at critical crisis points in the next 10 years.
We are passionate for the sake of our children, and for our children's children, to do what we can today - to save tomorrow.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Southern England Fresh Produce
Southern England Fruit Markets
Our humble beginnings.
Family led, traditional fresh produce wholesale and retail
Geographically, the south of England covers about one-third of the country. The South is often considered a principal cultural area of England, along with the Midlands and Northern England. Many consider the area to have a distinct identity from the rest of England, however without universal agreement on what cultural, political, and economic characteristics of the South are.
For statistical purposes, Southern England is divided into four regions: South West England, South East England, London, and the East of England. Combined, these have a total area of 62,042 square kilometres (23,955 sq mi), and a population of 28 million.
Historically, England was a very homogeneous country and developed coherent traditions, but, especially as the British Empire expanded and the country absorbed peoples from throughout the globe, English culture has been accented with diverse contributions from Afro-Caribbeans, Asians, Muslims, and other immigrant groups. The former insularity of English life has been replaced by a cosmopolitan familiarity with all things exotic: fish and chips have given way to Indian, Chinese, and Italian cuisine, guitar-based rock blends with South Asian rap and Afro-Caribbean and more.
Even as England has become ever more diverse culturally, it continues to exert a strong cultural influence on the rest of the world. English music, film, and literature enjoy wide audiences overseas, and the English language has gained ever-increasing currency as the preferred international medium of cultural and economic exchange.
Historically, English daily life and customs were markedly different in urban and rural areas. Indeed, much of English literature and popular culture has explored the tension between town and country and between farm and factory. Today, even though the English are among the world’s most cosmopolitan and well-traveled people, ties to the rural past remain strong. Urbanites, for example, commonly retire to villages and country cottages, and even the smallest urban dwelling is likely to have a garden or allotment.
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
In 2020, our food system is complex and remarkable and while Southern England is privileged to experience our market’s benefits, there are also many challenges; child obesity is rising, reliance on food-banks is increasing and global Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHGs) from food production are contributing to poor air quality.
Distribution is an integral part of the fresh produce system and, like production, it needs to be effectively managed. For fresh fruit and vegetables the management of distribution must be based on the management of quality. This requires an understanding of the nature of distribution, of its components, the produce, the packaging, the environment and the transit time, and of the interactions between these components.
Fruit and vegetable farmers and their distributors responded to a Feedback survey and reported they wasted up to 37,000 tonnes of produce every year – around 16 percent of crops. This quantity would be enough to provide 250,000 people with their recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day for a year.
Within Southern England, London has the highest level of child obesity. Children growing up in the poorest parts of the city are twice as likely to leave primary school obese as their peers in the richest areas. The food environment that surrounds children makes this issue worse. What we cook and eat at home has a big impact on our health and wellbeing. Yet many are not able to eat well at home. Poverty and inequality can play a part in this. Many find it hard to find healthy food when eating out and shopping.
The vegetable and fruit process is different from that of other food companies. Distributors are rarely the owner of a product batch, but they do buy, receive, process/package and then sell it, and held accountable for sales and costs of a product batch. Prices fluctuate daily, margins tend to be low and every client or retailer is different. It is impossible to know beforehand what the margin on the product is. It is the margin made on products that determines what the growers receive.
Despite being one of the world’s most supplied markets for fresh produce, many are not able to eat well at home, in part because of issues relating to poverty and inequality. While many who are privileged are able to access nutritious food easily, more than 2.5 million of Southern England’s population live below the poverty line and many people do not have shops in their area that sell enough affordable, healthy food.
FruPro’s goal is to challenge traditional and outdated models of working with the distribution system and offer solutions to revolutionize the way fresh produced is delivered to consumers in the Southern England The system has not changed for over a hundred years and the phrase “we’ve always done it this way” is rampid.
Throughout Southern England, major shifts in dietary patterns are occurring, even in the consumption of basic staples towards more diversified diets. People are undergoing rapid transition and are experiencing nutritional transition.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
System change for the fresh produce industry is necessary to create a big shift to a sustainable future. We understand the web of interrelations that create complex problems, anticipate unintended consequences, and identify how and where to take action. FruPro sees how individuals, places, businesses, actions, and innovations in fresh produce distribution are interconnected. We created FruPro to respond to a complex, changing world.
Being in the fresh produce our entire lives, we understand how hard it is to challenge and change the mindset of an entire industry that has remained closed to technology and communication. FruPro is a grassroots but innovative solution that has been created within the old system of fresh produce distribution.
Creating a sustainable solution is a dynamic process which enables all people to realise their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways that simultaneously protect and enhance our ability to tackle the disruption we will face.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
FruPro wants individuals to have access to healthy, affordable, good fruit and vegetables - regardless of where they live in Southern England, their personal circumstances or income. To change this we must create system change.
We want to put good food at the heart of the people’s approach to healthy living and to create a sustainable food system. We also want to equip the industry with the technological advancements they need to pursue rewarding, interesting jobs in fresh produce sector – one that contributes almost £10bn to the economy alone and accounts for over 5 percent of jobs.
Our food system is complex. It is based on ‘just in time’ supply chains and relies heavily on global trade agreements and access to skills, particularly from EU countries. It is precarious, any change to this system could have a huge impact that we may never recover.
We will build a sustainable industry with transparency. From farm to table, using technology to develop a community of networked consumers who deeply understand and deeply appreciate how each apple, strawberry or carrot was grown, packaged, transported and arrived on their plate.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Our Vision for the Future
Fresh produce is vital to sustain life, but food is also much more than just a meal. It connects everything we do as a society, it affects the environment, it drives our economy, affects our health and it is a central part of our cultural life. How our food system works and what people eat is crucial in helping Southern England to be a better place to live, work and visit.
What we eat, how we produce it, consume it and dispose of it, has huge impacts on the environment. It is estimated that food and drink accounts for almost 10 per cent of London’s total consumption-based Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. This is mainly because of the type of food eaten and the way it is farmed. This also has a big impact on our soils, biodiversity, and water quality. With Southern England’s population still rising, it is vital that we adapt the food system and our diets to mitigate the impacts of this increase.
The way the food system works has a major influence on air quality. We must work to achieve a more efficient and consolidated transport network around food supply and food shopping. The food system is complex and vulnerable. Our food supply depends on many sources and processes. We need to make our food system more resilient.
Healthy, nutritious food for all cultures and needs - A growing community of fresh produce lovers. The way we eat, the way we shop and the way we consider our impact on the environment with drive our decision making. Our supply chain will be strong, vibrant and healthy to support our community with high quality fresh fruit and vegetables with limited waste and zero-carbon emissions.
Fair, inclusive and accessible - Transparent and real-time data driven decisions can be made so that consumers can see exactly where their fruit and veg are coming from. Ethically grown produce, offering workers decent working conditions and fair treatment with living wages for all involved in the industry.
Skilled and profitable - Supporting the industry, including entrepreneurs, social enterprises and workers to grow, distribute, process, cook, trade and serve good food. People are encouraged to buy from smaller, local and varied enterprises to diversify the supply chain and to help newcomers enter the market.
Planet friendly and sustainable - Prioritising South West England and seasonal food, including fruit and veg local to London that meets higher ethical environmental standards, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and artificial inputs such as pesticides.
Safe - With good traceability and safe handling throughout the food chain
Celebrated - Engaging South West England to enjoy pursuits of fruit and veg shopping, growing, cooking and eating together.
In 2050, FroPro will be a technology platform built on blockchain and fueled by AI that will create system change for the fresh produce industry of Southern England. We will provide an end-to-end community for the global Fresh Produce industry and offers greater transparency for all of Southern England’s fresh produce consumers. From Growers to Importers, Wholesalers to Hauliers, FruPro will enable the fruit and veg distribution system to shift paradigms and address systemic issues There will be democratic and equitable access, transparent transactions from grower to consumer, build valuable connections for import and export in order to create a stable, vibrant sector for a healthy and sustainable community.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?