Horti Asia webinar discusses innovations in fresh produce supply chain
Horti Asia hosted its fifth digital talk to bring awareness to available technology and to hear how innovation is the key to transforming the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain.
The fresh produce supply chain continues to face unique challenges from pre-harvest to post-harvest, as its yields and quality are dependent upon factors beyond human control.
The webinar featured Daniel Manriquez Becerra of AgroFresh, Jacinto Trigo Bazzano of Tomra and was moderated by Rebecca Chard from FreshFruitPortal.com.
The panelists shared how their companies have provided innovative solutions to different challenges faced by the industry, such as preventing the loss of products and reducing waste throughout the supply chain.
Beginning with his presentation, Manriquez spoke about how AgroFresh is a company that delivers integrated solutions from pre- to post-harvest, using technology and expertise to help produce stay fresh.
He focused on a specific solution the company offers, called SmartFresh which, “maintains fruit quality post-harvest during storage, transport and ripening”.
The way SmartFresh works is that it revolves around 1-MCP, which blocks the action of the hormone that promotes ripening, or ethylene, to temporarily suspend the ripening process.
It can also “reduce produce weight loss, lessen refrigeration needs, extend storage windows and open up opportunities in more distant markets”.
SmartFresh is also available for different sized storage facilities, as well as transport containers, trailers and boxes.
Specifically regarding apples, when one can control ethylene, the fruit will remain firm and as some physical disorders are triggered by this hormone, along with this control comes a reduction of post-harvest physical issues.
According to Manriquez, the SmartFresh technology is being developed to work for avocados, watermelon and mangos, among other produce as well.
Another solution that AgroFresh offers is FreshCloud, a digital platform that “captures, organizes and analyzes quality metrics in real-time”.
“It is a very powerful tool for the industry today because we can integrate several parts of the supply chain and put a tremendous amount of data all in one place that generates information in real-time.”
“At the end of the day, for the post-harvest business, it is critical because we make decisions based on the real-time data.”
Also speaking about the post-harvest innovations, Tomra Food provides optical sorting and processing technology for the fresh food industry.
Explaining specifically how this technology impacts cherries and the challenges that the packaging sector faces, Trigo focuses on the issue of building and protecting brands while still meeting marketing requirements.
The solutions that Tomra puts forth for this challenge are the creation of consistent packs through grading technology and the extremely gentle handling of the produce.
Focusing on the first solution, Tomra has innovated a cherry grading system called InVision2 to help with consistency as Trigo explained it as, “putting the right fruit in the right box at the right time in order to build your brand”.
The InVision2 technology uses ultra-high resolution images, high-output LED illumination, dedicated stem bowl and nose inspection, 100 percent cherry surface coverage and future-proof data processing infrastructure.
“We know that the bigger the fruit is, the higher price it gets so we don’t want to dump size fruit, and this system delivers the best size grading in the industry.”
The InVision2 has the lowest labor requirements of any cherry sorting line, lowering operational costs and increasing consistency in the packhouse.
“This season we installed a new InVision2 line alongside an existing competitor line in our packhouse, finding that with InVision2 we could achieve the same production throughput using 45 percent fewer people.”
When asked how whether the InVision2 detects internal disorders, Trigo said: “Yes, we have the ability to find internal defects as currently, consumers are looking not only for a nice-looking cherry but for the all-around experience.”