Bühler breaks into natural hazelnut market

The Bühler Group has announced that it is to expand into the natural hazelnut market with the Turkish launch of its combination of sorting technologies.

It is hoped that this commitment will transform the industry and help increase yield and efficiency, similar to levels already achieved by US almond, pistachio and walnut processors.

The decision to move into natural hazelnut processing is the next logical step for Bühler following the success of its Sortex E and Sortex F optical sorters with BioVision technology, in the American walnut, almond and pistachio markets.

Producers there are reporting increases in yield and efficiency as a result of process optimisation, with natural hazelnut processors expected to achieve similar results once the new technology is available to them.

Bühler has invited hazelnut processors to its launch event on 28 April, to be held in the Black Sea port of Ordu, in the heart of Turkey’s hazelnut growing region. Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts, currently responsible for 60-65% of the global market.

The move will significantly increase the technological options open to natural hazelnut processors, a historically challenging sector for sorting, because of the complexity of distinguishing between skin and shell while also being able to recognize nut damage and shape distortions.

Natural hazelnut processors are currently reliant on laser and ultra sound technology when sorting their natural material. The Turkish launch of the Sortex FB range and BioVision technology introduces the natural hazelnut market to four processing technologies, wrapped up in one solution, capable of detecting colour defects, shell and foreign material in one process.

It is estimated that the Bühler solution will increase yield by simultaneously removing more unwanted material while ensuring less loss of good material per pass. Sorting times, and therefore production costs, are decreased by reducing the need for multiple-pass sorting, maximising profitability from graded product, while reducing waste of good product.

The four technologies being brought together are BioVision, Enhanced InGaAs, ColorVision and PROfile. BioVision technology has been designed specifically to optimise shell removal in the sorting process. After launching in Turkey Bühler plans to launch its new solution into the global hazelnut market.

Bühler had already successfully launched its sorting solution in the almond, walnut and pistachio markets before announcing its move into the natural hazelnut sector.
Christophe Parrot, head of segment coffee nuts and cocoa at Bühler’s digital technologies business area, says, “The main advantage of this new technology for the processors sorting natural hazelnuts is that they will be able to achieve a higher accuracy and higher throughput, with less good product lost. Each of the four technologies play a complementary role in stopping unwanted material getting through while making sure the good material is not rejected.

“We have already had great success with many of the big processors turning to us and achieving higher yields in the Californian almond, walnut and pistachio sectors and we will be working on accomplishing a similar success in the hazelnut market, by demonstrating the unique abilities of our solution.”

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