What the PMA Fresh Summit says about the fresh produce industry

Posted by Matt Stillwell on Nov 28, 2017 1:35:41 AM


The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit is the premier fresh produce trade show in North America. The scale of the event is enormous with last month’s event attracting almost 20,000 people and more than 1000 exhibitors. TOMRA and Compac were positioned side-by-side to show how sorting solutions can protect and enhance our customers’ brands. 

Many consumers may not understand why such a large event is organized for something as simple as fresh fruit and vegetables. The truth is there is an incredibly sophisticated supply chain involved – it’s not as simple as picking a fruit, placing it in a box and sending it to the grocery store.

Compac’s role in this supply chain is to provide technology and solutions to packhouses across the globe. We analyze, grade and sort every single piece of fruit to ensure our customers know exactly what they are packaging. This ensures all fresh produce goes into the highest paying box and every piece of fruit finds a home – premium quality items are branded and sold while imperfect items are used for fruit juices or sold as ‘ugly fruit’. It’s important to Compac that all edible fruit is used, increasing returns to the growers and reducing food waste.

Read more: What should growers look for when selecting a packhouse?

At the PMA Fresh Summit we announced five new products and services to show customers how they can achieve this:Inspectra- PMA.jpg

  • Inspectra2  - The Inspectra2™platform uses a spectrometer to measure light absorption as an indicator of internal properties and defects without touching the produce - read more
  • Spectrim 2.1 Solving the issue of clear rot - a major issue facing citrus growers and packhouses is clear rot, which results in fruit suffering from post-harvest decay that can continue to develop and spread during storage and transportation. Early detection is crucial to remove affected fruit from the line and avoid contamination of large amounts of fresh produce. Spectrim 2.1 now includes an improved memory architecture - read more.Cherry endview - PMA.jpg
  • Cherry End View End View is the new cherry grading technology that utilizes learnings from Compac’s Spectrim platform to improve outcomes for cherry-specific produce lines.  End View will be available as a modular upgrade for existing customers, and as part of Compac’s cherry inspection solution InVision 7-View - read more.
  • Sizer 12 Sorting software is one of the most important and often underrated assets of a packhouse. It controls all mechanical components, interprets inspection results, assigns produce to outlets, stores and communicates data, and automatically optimizes line speed, pack weights, and packing configurations to create consistent products and maximize returns to growers - read more.
  • Compac Care – Preventative Maintenance Program Compac’s service is about preventing breakdowns and enabling you to consistently operate to your potential to deliver on your brand promise. This is a program we’ve developed with strategic investments in platforms such as ServiceMax, and the establishment of regional offices to enable local support across the globe - read more.

So, why is this level of technology necessary to get fruit and vegetables Spectrim- PMA.jpginto grocery stores? Put simply, it’s because the demand for fresh produce is rapidly increasing. There has been a recent global shift in healthy eating with many consumers focusing their diets around fresh produce, with consumers willing to pay a premium for safe, quality produce and fresh brands need to make the most of this opportunity and keep up with this demand.

Read more: A time for change: Technology in the fresh produce industry

As you can imagine, meeting these demands would be impossible without technology. Not only is labor expensive and often unavailable, but human error is inevitable which creates consistency issues. After all, a human can’t grade at the accuracy and speed of an inspection system or can they see through a piece of fruit like Inspectra2.

Consistency is vital for successful brands like Zespri, Halos, JazzZespri - pam.jpg and Envy. Every piece of fruit represents the brand, and if a customer has a bad experience, they may choose to purchase a different brand or product.

Read more: Learn about creating value through produce brands 

This is one of the main reasons why almost 20,000 people from the fresh produce industry crowded into the PMA Fresh Summit last month to learn more about the latest technology available. There was a great sense of excitement from all corners of the event – this industry is growing and innovators across the world are creating solutions to keep up with this demand. Compac and TOMRA are both proud to be at the forefront of existing and developing technology that will ensure consistent high-quality, healthy fresh produce is available to consumers across the world.

If you missed us at PMA this year, we will be at Fruit Logisitica, Berlin in February. Feel free to come talk to the TOMRA and Compac team at hall A-12.

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Matt Stillwell

Written by Matt Stillwell

Digital Marketing Manager - TOMRA

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