Soft fruit from BerryWorld safely into the world
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Soft fruit from BerryWorld safely into the world

  • 11 October 2021
  • Door: Marjolein Straatman

Success often depends on being able to respond to changing demand. This also applies to BerryWorld. The fruit company supplies tons of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to the retail sector every week. A dozen packaging lines make this possible. An eleventh is on order.

A sudden order for tons of soft fruit on top of the usual quantities does not really scare the staff at BerryWorld. Demand has been high for some time, partly due to the increased attention paid to a healthy lifestyle. The company's capacity is also equipped to deal with this, with fairly recent investments in a 16,000 m2 distribution centre for storing and processing fruit. And over the years, the number of packaging lines has also increased. Soon there will be an increase to eleven packaging lines in order to keep up with the demand for soft fruit in the future. This means that the punnets with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries that the company processes can continue to find their way to retail channels in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Scandinavia.

Good or bad harvest

The automation measures increase capacity and lead to a relatively short lead time on the factory floor in Made. In this way, the customer who orders at eight o'clock in the morning and wants the load to be on the road by two o'clock the same afternoon can also be helped, as Ad Nouws illustrates. He is operations manager at BerryWorld. Ad: "We are quick to respond. With the current ten lines, there is a high degree of flexibility. Not only the capacity, but also the number of possibilities is high. This allows us to anticipate a good or bad harvest. We can respond to any desired packaging weight thanks to the great diversity of existing sealing jigs. And, as previously mentioned, to meet a sudden large order. Instead of one machine having to run at full capacity, the batch can be distributed over several lines." BerryWorld is originally a British and internationally operating company. In the Netherlands, it entered into a partnership with Beekers Berries, which wanted to supply year-round fruit and now operates under that label.

Ad Nouws

Reducing plastic

The initial idea for the current packaging machinery was created when BerryWorld wanted to replace the lids of its fruit trays with foil in 2014. A change that leads to a plastic saving of 33 per cent per tray. "In addition to the desired plastic reduction, there was demand from the market for better protection of the fruit. That is why we opted for the use of heat foil and two packaging lines of the Proseal brand," says Ad. The supplier of the lines is Sismatec from Almelo, which has represented Proseal for some 15 years. Since 1963, the company has supplied various packaging solutions and machines that can dose, weigh and pack food. The company supplies not only fruit and vegetable companies, but also the game and poultry, bread and pastry, fish and meat sectors.

Like other customers, there has been a long and pleasant cooperation with the North Brabant fruit company, according to Gerrit Tijhof, Commercial Director at Sismatec. "In the process, and through good contact with Ad, we have learned what is important to BerryWorld and have been able to integrate the packaging lines into the company's processes as effectively as possible. Where necessary, we assist with service and maintenance, although BerryWorld also does a lot itself. We know what we can expect from each other.

Ad Nouws (left) and Gerrit Tijhof


With their packaging solutions, Sismatec responds to developments, including the need for sustainability. The company is also constantly researching new possibilities that can be of use to its customers. "The packaging industry is bursting with innovation," notes Jasper Slaghekke. He is responsible for marketing and sales at the Almelo company. "The introduction of resealable foil, for example, is a huge step forward in the fight against food waste. More and more companies are realising that different materials can be fitted with a topseal. In addition, the arrival of crushable packaging, which can also be used for fruit, is interesting. They respond to the increasing need for convenience.


Nevertheless, the industry continues to face challenges. The search for employees, for example. To a large extent, automation is already replacing hands. Ad sees further automation within BerryWorld as a next step. "At the moment, our employees are still manually placing the trays of fruit in boxes; an operation that can also be performed by a case packer in the future. Ultimately, of course, we want to continue to meet the demand from the market." 

Photos: ©Peter Roek

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2021