Sir, I was extremely saddened by the news that David Shapley had passed away a few days ago (‘Former Grocer fresh produce editor David Shapley dies at 77,’ 29 October, p51). David was the doyen of fresh produce journalists for many years and was highly regarded not only as a fine writer and editor but also as one of the most knowledgeable and influential commentators of his generation.
I first knew David in 1990 when he wrote about a novel initiative to introduce fresh English apples to the convenience food sector. Thereafter we communicated regularly about developments in the apples and pears industry. He was always interested but searching in his questioning and not satisfied until he had uncovered the full background. He was very generous in providing advice based on years of experience of products, packs and companies. This was of great assistance not just to me but to many others who benefited from his wise counsel. In recent years I spent many happy hours in his company at various events and his regular reports about new developments in the fresh produce industry, frequently complemented with summaries of previous developments, were insightful and highly informative. It was a tribute to his continuing interest in fresh produce, his thirst for knowledge and his active mind that he continued in his career of journalism for so many years.
David was a good friend to many in the industry, and he will be missed very greatly.
Adrian Barlow, chairman, English Apples & Pears