Fruits such as strawberries and raspberries are becoming a part of everyday diets, leading to an increase in investment to develop and improve small format fruit grading machinery. With frozen fruit, some of the color in the product may be lost and replaced with a white frosting caused through the exposure to negative temperatures.
However, if there is already a discoloring to the fruit pre-freezing, the end product could look unappealing and unappetizing to a consumer. A solution here is to incorporate sorting and grading systems at the very start of the process, meaning any defects or potential foreign objects can be removed before the fruit gets frozen. As well as reducing the risk of poor quality, this also brings down the energy consumption levels, as the damaged fruit isn’t being unnecessarily frozen, according to Strubbe.
“What matters more for food businesses, quality and safety or quantity? The long-standing consensus among food growers, packers and processors is that quality is crucial. Delivering a high-quality product – uniform in size, shape and color and free from contamination, foreign materials and damaged items. Delivering a safe quality product results in maintained consumer trust and maximized sales and profits, whilst ensuring the brand is protected,” Karel Strubbe, EMEA sales director Tomra Sorting Food.
He adds that with the automated high throughput sorting machinery of today, fields can still be harvested and the premium produce can be retained, with the less premium or defective produce repurposed or removed from the chain in its entirety. This, in return, works from both a quality and quantity standpoint – all the produce is being used to its best purposed within the supply chain.