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August 2010

emita is pleased to announce Davis Produce as August's Member of the Month. You can find out more about this local company below from their Managing Director, Peter Davis, including the company’s overseas challenges, international achievements and plans for the future.

Davis produce logo

1. Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.    


Davis Worldwide was established by Peter Davies in 1999 after seeing a need for bringing growers together to market and develop the fresh produce industry to supermarkets, caterers and wholesale outlets. Since 1999 we have now opened operations in Turkey, Spain, France, and we are in the process of opening an operation in Holland to export UK fresh Produce to Scandinavia, using Holland as our hub and regrouping centre.


We employ in total 15 members of staff in the sales, however we have a great deal of 3rd party employment in the picking/packing/preparation of the products and we estimate that our 3rd party operators have approx 100 people working for us in the different sectors.


We are located in Louth Lincolnshire, in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds, however we do have an accounts office based in London which we also use to receive our guests from Overseas.


2. Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialisation. 


We specialise in produce from France and Spain. We are major importers of French apples such as Golden del, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Pink Kiss and Royal Gala, which our team based in the Provence region of France continually check before departure for quality. We import directly from Spain all Spanish vegetables and salads, especially from the Valencia and Murcia regions. We are able to offer you fixed prices for both salads and courgettes, depending on the final destination; we can offer the salads in wooden crates or cartons. Special attention is paid to make sure that only the best quality is shipped to the UK, and most of our suppliers are EFSIS accredited. We have also begun to play a greater role in the field of fresh salads, including Lollo Rossa, Lollo Binda, Red Oak, Curly and Course Endives, Romaine and Spinach. We are able to offer the products in either conventional crates or cartons for multiple distributions. We do not hold stock of these products, preferring instead to offer you the freshest produce possible by aiming to cut and deliver to your requirements on the day that you order. This is only possible because we work so closely with the grower. We have also recently tested baby leaf from Morocco and Kenya, and we now feel confident enough to be able to offer Mizuna, Red Chard, Red Mustard, Rocket and Wild Rocket to order.  

3. How did you find out about emita and what benefits do you find the most valuable?  


In any market, especially true of the fresh produce industry, it is so important to stay ahead of the game, and make sure that as a company and as a director we do not fall behind the competition. this is why we find Emita so important, it keeps us abreast of the markets, opens up new challenges to us and allows us to network with other decision makers and hopefully drive the company forwards.


I appreciate the time that we have afterwards to network and meet with people that in our normal daily routine we would not meet with. A great opportunity to discuss problems together and often find the answer we were looking for!


4. How long has your company been active in the export / import market and which countries do you currently trade with?  


We started exporting in 2001, and our first year showed £ 263,000 worth of export to Europe, this year we expect to export approx £2.4 million in exports and our market share is growing. We have a good import sector importing salads and vegetables outside of the UK growing seasons, we import from Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Morocco and also recently from Chile, Argentina and at present we are looking into the Australian and Asian markets.


5. What made you decide to expand your business overseas?  


We realised that the market was ever expanding, and as such we needed a presence in the countries with which we were trading.


Our own operation out there allows us to:

  • React quickly to market changes, levies or duties that can suddenly be applied without a lot of warning.
  • Sort out any logistical problems once the lorry or container arrives in the country.
  • To sort out any claims or potential claims from clients, it is always easier to sort problems out face to face.
  • To secure forward contracts, so much is done over a meal in Italy, Spain and France!! 

6. What has been your biggest exporting / importing challenge?  


Our biggest challenge was delivering the product quickly and efficiently, we have orders at the moment to export produce to Saudi Arabia, the product has to arrive in optimum conditions, so we find ourselves for example cutting cauliflowers at 5am before the sun gets too hot, pre cooling them by 10am, getting them on a lorry to Heathrow for a 4pm for a flight out at 6.30pm!!! You can imagine the stress that this can put us under!!


7. What’s the most helpful piece of international trade advice you have received? 


For us, there is not one particular thing that stands out, however I feel that when it comes to international trade it is so important to know your country, your market and your client. Understand your client’s problems, check and double check his credit rating. Start trading slowly and build the business up over a period of time.


8. What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next? 


I am about to fly out to Holland to sort out the new operation there, we wish to have a depot in Holland to run a hub to serve Northern Europe, especially the Finish and Norwegian markets. Next year we intend to open an office in Morocco to service our supermarkets with vegetables and sweet corn which we will grow outside of the normal UK season.


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