In many markets, quality, taste and origin remain three of the biggest influences on consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions. In response to this, retailers continue to revise and upgrade their specifications, pushing fresh pack carrot producers to meet higher standards and food safety regulations than ever before.
Like any root crop, harvested carrots are susceptible to foreign objects such as stones, sticks, bud and other materials, such as soil, typically found underground. For fresh pack carrot producers struggling to keep up with the level of quality the market now demands, manual sorting has rendered itself ineffective; when it comes to efficiently removing foreign material and other color defects such as greening, optical sorting is the industry standard.
In order to keep up with evolving trends and meet the level of quality retailers and consumers demand, the time is now for fresh pack carrot producers to seriously consider investing in business-building technologies that will not only help them to keep up with trends but also equip them with the competitive edge needed to successfully grow into the future.
Growing into the future with advanced optical sorting
Considering the fact that fruit and vegetables, along with roots and tubers, have the highest wastage rates of any food (rejection by retailers because they do not meet quality standards, fluctuations in demand or problems during storage or packing are all contributing factors), it makes sense for fresh pack carrot producers to implement measures to reduce food loss and waste.
Add to the above the fact that a large quantity of food loss and waste occurs during production to retailing - before it even reaches the consumer - and there is a clear case for food producers to invest in ways of optimizing their processes and adapting their packhouse to meet supermarket requirements.
Indeed, while it is ultimately this demand for quality that is driving fresh pack carrot producers to invest in optical sorting, there are other factors at play that make optical sorting a wise investment – namely labor and cost.
Labour-saving solutions for optimized production
In terms of manual inspection, it is virtually impossible to completely check each carrot (front and rear). Not only does optical sorting increase production speed and efficiency, it also gives fresh pack carrot producers something money can’t buy – the peace of mind and security that comes with knowing that are providing quality produce that is within spec.
Not only is manual sorting less effective than automated processes, seasonal labor has become increasingly difficult (and expensive) to source - a fact that that makes automation a game-changer.
Maximize your potential with optical sorting
Massive wastage can be a huge issue for fresh carrot producers, whose sorting systems primarily focus on differentiating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ product, rather than maximizing product in the waste, or reject, stream.
Advanced optical sorting opens up new possibilities by creating additional product streams that allow businesses to reduce waste and boost profits by redirecting carrots that would have ended up on the waste pile either to retailers that do not require grade one products or as raw material for further processing (i.e. juicing) or animal feed.
As the demand for quality among consumers continues to rise, supermarket chains and other retailers expect only the best. Consumer tastes and trends change rapidly, and only businesses who prepare for the future today will thrive tomorrow.