Improving the quality of fruit and vegetables
Ondernemers sociëteit voedingsindustrie
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Improving the quality of fruit and vegetables

  • 19 March 2019

Project leader Eelke Westra (WUR): "One of the most groundbreaking results, in my opinion, is the objective measuring method that can assess large quantities of fruit and vegetables for quality at the same time. This makes measurements much more accurate and reliable. But certainly also the model with which you can predict the chance of good or bad quality, so that we can reduce waste even further.

Measurement methods

Measuring quality is now often done with colour fans. Westra: "We have developed a camera system that allows you to measure and analyse the colour of fruit and vegetables. Instead of manually evaluating one product, this machine gives a complete picture of an entire box of products. This not only results in an efficiency gain, but also provides an objective, accurate and controllable image.

Transport & storage systems

Conditioning systems are used in transport and storage to maintain the quality of products. Wageningen experts introduced, among other things, a floor covering system for refrigerated containers. This resulted in 30% fewer temperature differences during loading and therefore less loss of quality of perishable products. They also developed dynamic packaging material that is able to maintain the protective atmosphere with variations in the ambient temperature. This makes the shelf life of perishable products longer, even outside the cooling system.

Prediction of quality

Westra is particularly proud of the model with which you can predict the quality of products after harvest. This is done on the basis of variables from the cultivation phase, given factors such as the amount of rain and temperatures. "With this model we quantify and formalise the knowledge that is now mainly in the minds of experts and use more data. With the results, each link in the chain can make better and quantitatively substantiated decisions.  For example, it can help a buyer to determine which grower delivers the desired quality products in a certain period of time.

"Improving quality is a continuous point of attention within the chain from producer to consumer. Knowledge and techniques developed for this purpose are highly appreciated by our members. They like to work together within projects such as GreenCHAINge and Fresh on Demand to actively contribute to this", says Daco Sol, at GroentenFruit Huis responsible for Logistics, Supervision & Supply Chain.

Source: © Wageningen Universiteit