Case Study

LED Camera Sorting Boosts Quality For Vegetable Processor

LED Camera Sorting Boosts Quality For Vegetable Processor

Apetit Plc is a Finnish producer of convenient fresh and frozen vegetable based products that are healthy, tasty and based on locally sourced raw materials such as potatoes, leeks, carrots, peas, swede, parsnips, celery, beetroot, and spinach.

Its aim is to become the leading brand in frozen vegetable products, frozen ready meals and ready-to-use fresh vegetables.

Petri Pyysalo, technical manager at Apetit, says: “Apetit has worked closely with contract growers in the Satakunta region in south-western Finland for more than 60 years. Essentially, good food is made from good ingredients, so the quality of the vegetables we use is the most important factor affecting our product quality.

“As a company, we have become extremely familiar with the local suppliers and growers and sign agreements with around 140 contract growers every year. We also select quality suppliers outside the Satakunta region, from European and international markets, because Finland is situated too northern for farming e.g. corn and peppers. We purchase vegetables from Finnish, European and international suppliers depending on the season”.

Great Taste
Petri explains why its vegetables have such a great taste: “Finland is the northernmost agricultural country in the world and this is something that you can taste in our vegetables. Arctic food production is characterized by short summers and low temperatures, combined with long summer days and short nights. This unique combination lends a specific taste and texture to the vegetables, and that’s why Apetit has been exporting tasty “midsummer night” peas to Italy since 1970.

“We try to harvest when the vegetables are at their best in order to keep that wonderful taste. We know how to freeze vegetables such as peas, potatoes and spinach rapidly: we wash them gently, blanch them and freeze them evenly to prevent the formation of large ice crystals that alter the texture of the vegetables.

“Apetit aims to lead the way in developing a vegetable-based food chain, which is why we are investing more than ever in quality. We strongly favor suppliers who have a valid quality or product safety management tool in place, and in order to become the leading brand, we are increasing our efforts in product development and investing in new food solutions, service developments, and technical innovations.

“We are currently processing approximately 20,000 tons of frozen vegetables per year. During this process, we also sort out foreign materials, making sure we guarantee a top quality product as well as food safety along the way. We want to make sure that no foreign materials enter the further production line after coming from the storing and mixing process. That’s why we have bought TOMRA’s free fall pulsed LED camera sorters for the packaging lines – as many companies do”.

Pulsed Led Sorter Versus Laser Sorter
“TOMRA’s Blizzard is a very cost-effective solution. For many years we considered buying new laser sorters, which are often thought to be the best machines for sorting IQF vegetables, butafter seeing TOMRA’s pulsed LED technology in action, we

were convinced that this technology was equally as good, if not better.

“Pulsed LED recognizes the subtlest color and structural differences as well as foreign materials just before packing, and the benefits are abundant: it is calibration-free, stable, and has a long life-span. For peas for examples, the Blizzard is able to take out pods and stalks based on shape sorting”.

“TOMRA’s Blizzard is a great alternative to the more expensive laser sorters. With TOMRA’s Blizzard, we are able to differentiate us from competitors.” – Petri Pyysalo, technical manager at Apetit

“Our brand name is close to our heart and you have to keep your brand protected at all times. TOMRA’s Blizzard sorting machine gives you that confidence and trustworthiness.” – Petri Pyysalo, technical manager at Apetit

Impeccable Food Safety Record
“We have already installed four of TOMRA’s Blizzard machines and not only has our quality increased, but also our food safety record is impeccable, since we are confident that all foreign material is being removed. It’s an all-in-one package. We save money, the quality has improved and food safety is guaranteed.

“We are also making raw materials for baby food and those people have already been interested and satisfied by the fact that we have installed Blizzard sorters in our company. It gives them confidence.”

Commenting on the initial stages of the partnership, Petri says: “During the installation, our operators received special training courses from the TOMRA team in order to learn how to operate the sorting machine, but once you know how to operate it, it’s very easy to work with. On top of that, it’s easy to clean”.

One Blizzard In Each Of Our Six Packaging Lines
“After the installation, TOMRA is continuing to support us. Its Finnish agent is brilliant and has delivered a very good job in helping us. He knows his business by heart. We have been so impressed and satisfied with TOMRA’s Blizzard, that we are installing one in each of our six packaging lines.”

About Apetit
The Apetit Group’s business segments include Food Solutions, Grain Trade, Oilseeds Products and Seafood. Apetit operates in the northern Baltic region and the Group’s shares are quoted on NASDAQ Helsinki Ltd. In 2015, its net sales amounted to EUR 381 million and it had approximately 725 employees. The Food Solutions’ annual turnover is approximately EUR 96 million.