High-end accredited logistics are playing a key role in maintaining Britain’s love affair with authentic Italian food as the UK’s biggest importer of pasta continues to experience record demand for the wheat-based staple.
From lasagne to linguini, fettucine to fusilli, demand for southern Italian pasta from the Naples region where it originated has continued beyond the high watermark of the panic-buying months of the first lockdown, with orders not returning to pre-pandemic levels for Hertfordshire-based Specialist Foods, the UK agent for prestige brand Pasta Garofalo.
The business, which also trades through the Gustalia name and imports coffee, rice and oils, as well as pesto and pasta sauces, continues to ship a wide range of pasta varieties into the country in 17 tonne containers ready for distribution to the UK’s retail sector, including independent outlets, food wholesalers and prestige online grocer, Ocado.
The business, which has more than 25 years of food import experience and is exacting in its delivery of a wide range of Italian food products, has forged a long-term collaborative partnership with Aztek Logistics to manage its UK storage and onward distribution in the UK.
Letchworth Garden City-based Aztek Logistics, part of the Pallet-Track network, recently re-secured two new major industry accolades recognising its ability to offer high-end services to the retail sector and top-level storage and distribution solutions for the growing organic foods market, factors that helped seal the deal with Specialist Foods.
Managing Director of Specialist Foods, Mal Pullan, was impressed by Aztek’s British Retail Consortium (BRC) AA Standard storage and distribution accreditation and the Organic Food Federation certification, both of which were achieved after extensive and far-reaching audits into its supply chain practices and procedures to guarantee the highest industry standards.
“Aztek’s organic accreditation was an important factor – the partners we chose had to tick that box,” he said.
“In Italy we have achieved the BRC higher accreditation and we also have recognition from the Soil Association, so recognised standards of high-quality storage were essential.
“Aztek has built a brand-new warehouse close by, which was perfect for our requirements. They are also very easy to deal with – I have a dedicated team of account handlers with whom I maintain daily contact.”
Managing Director of Aztek Logistics, Stuart Charter, said: “Specialist Foods and the high-end brands it represents needed reassurance that their products are in good hands and will arrive at their destination in pristine condition.
“We have a good relationship based on trust and expertise in the food market that can flex to the demands of not only securing supplies during a global crisis, but providing that level of response while maintaining the highest standards.”
Aztek Logistics has also retained the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) Gold standard for the fifth consecutive year as part of the annual root and branch compliance audit.
This recognises Aztek’s proactive approach, including ongoing investment in nine new FORS Gold standard trucks, comprising MAN tractor units, new MAN 18-tonne rigids and its first 18-tonne Volvo rigids.
This follows a series of investments across the business, including the opening of a fifth warehouse, taking its storage space to 140,000 sq. ft.