Tomra highlights key nut processing challenges with new publication

Belgian-based Tomra Food has created an eBook targeting processors handling operational challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new 15-page publication, titled The Challenges Nut Processors Face and the Solutions,’ is downloadable free from the company’s website, and spotlights both new and unprecedented tests for the industry. Not least, market trends and climate change threaten to shake-up the industry, which works closely with confectionery and snacks sectors.

The eBook also explains why the global demand for nuts is reportedly booming and how this is putting processors under pressure to achieve higher throughputs. It also examines how processors, in apparent contradiction to their need for speed, are also expected to raise product quality because of the heightened expectations of consumers and retailers.

This shift towards higher quality specifications is at the heart of another conflict of objectives: processors are simultaneously expected to contain costs, particularly now that global economies are affected by the pandemic. And in yet another conflict, labor, water and energy are all becoming more expensive.

Labour and water are also becoming increasingly scarce. As workers in developing nations find themselves with more options, many become unreliable or opt out of manual labor jobs. And as climate change alters rainfall patterns and water availability, growing and harvesting seasons are disrupted in ways which require processors to operate with more agility.

A further challenge is food safety standards. Always vital, these are now under even greater scrutiny because consumers are increasingly aware of allergens, pathogen, and aflatoxins – and of their power, through social media platforms, to broadcast any dissatisfaction with product standards.

These challenges are remarkable for their breadth, but so too are the capabilities of sorting machines. As the eBook observes in its concluding section, state-of-the-art sorting technologies can now do more than detect and remove unwanted materials from processing lines. Sorting machines also reduce labor dependency, reduce water usage, minimise food waste to maximise yields, enable traceability, and help processors optimise productivity and profits.

Many of the challenges faced by nut processors can be answered with technology, and those processors who invest in state-of-the-art solutions can gain a competitive advantage. The title is available from the company’s website.

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