Sunfruit’s new packhouse is the largest of its kind in New Zealand, covering 12,500m2. The facility opened in May, just a month after the start of the official apple season.
Sunfruit managing director John Altham said commissioning the plant while harvesting a record crop was a big ask, but to do this while also starting a month later put it to the ulti-mate test.
The plant has a 2m carton capacity, and has its sorting and grading robotics supplied by Dutch company Greefa.
“Gone are the days when I could walk on to the pack-house floor with a spanner in my pocket ready to basically fix things when machines broke down,” said Altham.
Greefa senior project manager Frans Verkooijen, said that following the success of the project, Greefa would be looking to open a local branch in Hawkes Bay to service its future customers even better.
With Sunfruit’s key focus being direct supply to supermarkets under its PickMee! brand, the company has been packing out more than a million apple cartons annually. It supplies international markets including China, India, Thailand, Europe, the UK, and the US; and Countdown supermarkets locally in New Zealand.