ACE looks at what local shops and businesses are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Here, we focus on family food firm Fresh Approach, the greengrocer and wholesaler.

The new warehouse - and huge chiller.

The new warehouse – and huge chiller.

Fresh Approach is a family food firm started by Stephen Brett in the 1990s with just five acres in Bintree near Dereham. Now it has 65 acres – and a brand new environmentally friendly depot at Aylsham.

A grower and wholesale fruit and veg company, it also has a retail outlet in Aylsham called Harvest, formerly S & M Brett, which changed its name in 2022 after structural improvements to meet growing expectations for a more sustainable approach.

And two years later, and 14 years after it had outgrown its original site nearby, the move to greener premises in Shepheards Close on the industrial estate in Aylsham, was completed.

The new depot is around three times the size of the old warehouse, allowing for a wider product range and, therefore, potentially more customers.

Louise Skoyles and brother Matt Brett.

But its biggest investment is in the new environmentally-friendly walk-in chiller.

“It wasn’t the cheapest option but it runs on CO2 rather than traditional systems that rely on harmful man-made refrigerants,” says Louise Skoyles, managing director.
“But it will pay its way over the years by reducing electricity consumption and lower repair costs.”

Although not an organic farm, Fresh Approach believes in applying simple alternatives where it can, like insect netting to reduce crop spraying, no unnecessary packaging – there are no plastic bags in their Aylsham shop – 26 refill options like dried fruit, cereals, nuts, reducing food waste by donating to the Aylsham Community Fridge or sending rotting veg to Eve’s Hill farm for pig feed or composting.

Since 2010, Fresh Approach has grown into a business with a turnover of £1.6m, employing about 10 people and runs five delivery vans across most of Norfolk, and into north Suffolk.

“Things move on,” says Louise. “We are a small operation and it would be tempting to stay non-green, but we want to make an effort.”

Other traders in the series . . .

Barnwells – Norfolk’s first Certified Carbon Balanced printer
Coxford’s Butchers – a family affair
G F White – a traditional butcher


Share This With Friends & Family...