Fleet case study: Apetito

Apetito delivers thousands of hot meals every day to some of the most vulnerable people in society, so an efficient vehicle fleet is critical to its business.

The Trowbridge-based company has taken the established concept of meals-on-wheels to a new level with its now 350-strong fleet of specially-designed Chefmobil vans.

The fleet’s Citroën Berlingo and Nissan NV200 vans have each been specially equipped with three ovens and a fridge to ensure hot and tasty meals are delivered to elderly and vulnerable residents either through a local authority managed meals-on-wheels service or to private customers.

Additionally, Apetito, a global organisation with 50 years’ experience in frozen food and catering solutions, provides a service to hospitals, care homes and day centres which sees prepared meals delivered for heating. In total the company prepares around one million pre-cooked meals each day in the UK.

However, it is the company’s unique Chefmobil fleet which is at the cutting-edge of home delivery that, as Apetito logistics manager John Sayers says: “Enables food to be at its best at the point of delivery.”

Working with long-time partner Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services, the Chefmobil was developed to meet Apetito’s three objectives of:

  • Minimising vehicle downtime
  • Reducing vehicle operating costs
  • Further improving meal quality

Prior to the launch of the Chefmobil, Apetito, which has been a contract hire with full maintenance customer of Hitachi Capital since 1999, operated vans with traditional ‘hot lock boxes’.

Demand for meals-on-wheels is growing to the extent that Apetito has seen its fleet of ‘community meals vehicles’ expand by around 50 in the past two years, with further expansion in the pipeline.

Additionally, with its fleet of Chefmobil vans based at 34 locations nationwide serving local markets, the company believes electric vans could have a role to play in delivering its service in the near future.

Apetito has already trialled some electric vehicles and has closely assessed an electric version of the NV200, which Nissan plans to launch in the UK next year.

Sayers, who is in charge of the fleet, says: “We believe that electric vans could have a role to play on the Chefmobil fleet with our mileage patterns.

"The vans typically operate from a specific base where the meals are loaded and they deliver food to residents in an urban environment in a two-hour time frame before returning to their depot.

“We are looking at the wholelife cost of the electric vans and their configuration to see if they can accommodate the ovens and fridge we require.”

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