Stefan Ranstrand, TOMRA Food’s president and chief executive officer, spoke at Fruit Logistica Berlin, describing his company’s vision for the future, its values and aspirations. He said that TOMRA can contribute to global sustainability while helping to reduce food waste and enhancing the technical and economic performance of food producers.
TOMRA Food designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions for the food industry, using advanced grading, sorting, peeling and analytical technology. Over 8,000 units are installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world, who produce fruits, nuts, vegetables, potato products, grains and seeds, dried fruit, meat and seafood.
“One of our big aspirations for the future is to help our customers even more to reduce food waste and improve yields,” said Ranstrand. “We are in a world with an ever-growing population, expected to increase up to 10 billion people by 2050, and will have to produce 70 percent more food than we do today. Today, we waste between 35 and 50 percent of all the food we currently produce, and that’s something we must address. We would like to see our technologies help bring much more food to the table.”
According to Ranstrand, a major challenge for producers is very short picking-and-sorting seasons, demanding a lot of work be done quickly without unplanned downtime. This means working closely with TOMRA customers as partners. “The most important thing is to understand the customer and give them full value, not only in sorting accuracy, but also to make sure the machine runs all the time and always delivers top performance.”
Ranstrand said that in the future, digitalization will be extremely important. “With inspection technologies we can look at food on the outside and the inside, and the question is how we use that data to benefit food producers and consumers.”
Data gathered during automated food inspecting and sorting will likely be used to improve farming efficiencies and the quality of products reaching consumers. This data will also give consumers details about the food, for example, provenance, sugar composition and the supplier’s sustainability credentials—all helping the purchaser make informed choices.
Winner of this year’s European CEO Awards in the category of Best CEO in the sustainable resource management industry, Ranstrand said, “By pioneering the design and manufacturing of sorters and graders of many different types and sizes, TOMRA offers technical solutions not found elsewhere. Our ability to combine different sorting technologies—color cameras, near infra-red (NIR), spectroscopy, and laser-detection—makes a difference.” Thus, produce is accurately graded and safety-assured at the same time as reducing waste.