As part of its 'Dole Promise' to achieve zero fruit loss by 2025, Dole Sunshine Company (Dole), has embarked on an innovative commercial partnership with Clarifruit, which has developed a next-gen quality control (QC) platform for fruits and vegetables.
Clarifruit’s AI-powered QC software platform uses advanced computer-vision technology to automate fresh produce quality inspection and evaluation while analysing factors such as size, colour, stem colour or any visible defects.
The platform also helps digitise and standardise the quality control process, giving the company accurate and high-quality real-time data, as well as actionable insights.
The association with Clarifruit began when Dole was setting up its Sunshine for All (SFA) Fund, announced in February 2021.
The US$2m annual fund seeks to partner with young companies and start-ups to accelerate Dole’s adoption of innovation and technology and is open to applications from agri-tech start-ups around the world that will help Dole deliver on its ‘Dole Promise’.
“Clarifruit was selected for its proven track record in successfully operating its next-gen AI technologies in commercial settings, its multi-crop QC capabilities, and platform scalability,” said Barbara Guerpillon, head of Dole Ventures, Dole Sunshine Company.
“Our collaboration with Clarifruit embodies the objective of the Dole Sunshine for All Fund, and we hope that other agri-tech start-ups that are as committed to reducing food insecurity and food waste will also apply.”
In early 2021, Dole successfully concluded a pilot project with Clarifruit for its pineapple exports from the Philippines to six markets worldwide. The Clarifruit app is currently used at Dole’s fresh pineapple packing plants for pre-shipment inspection, as well as at the local markets for inspection upon arrival.
Elad Mardix, chief executive and co-founder of Clarifruit, the company believes digitisation and automation of QC processes are the future of agriculture.
“Dole is our first major client in Asia to adopt AI in its operations, and this partnership further supports our vision for all fresh produce QC to run on a single, standardised Clarifruit platform,” Mardix said.
“Also, despite the pandemic and the need to deploy the solution across multiple markets and geographical distances, we were able to find incredible synergy thanks to our common ambition and ability to remotely implement our software.”
Since implementing the Clarifruit software, Dole has seen its productivity increase two-fold as well as a reduction in error-prone QC reports.
In 2022, Dole plans to scale this technology to additional markets and fruit categories, including bananas, papayas, and avocados. This partnership will target a further 10 per cent reduction in fruit loss within the next three years.