First large-scale salad processing plant implementing Techno Fresh method under construction in Japan
Japanese vertical farm and development group, Spread, has started construction on a new fresh-cut lettuce processing facility Techno Fresh Hadano. Located near Kyoto, the facility will be the first to implement company’s latest shelf-life increasing technology.
According to Spread, Techno Fresh Hadano will have capacity to process eight tonnes of lettuce per day and 85 per cent of its operations will be automated using technology such as an AI-based lettuce core remover. Notably the facility will implement Spread’s new Techno Fresh method which the company said can significantly increase the shelf-life of cut lettuce,
The method uses pesticide-free vertically farmed lettuce from Techno Farm in conjunction with Spread’s dedicated processing design to prevent bacteria increasing. It will also prevent lettuce discolouration and browning. Through this method Spread said it can enhance the shelf-life of its cut lettuce by up to two times and achieve a shelf-life of six days for a fresh-cut lettuce products.
According to a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and cited in a media release from Spread, Japan threw away 8m tonnes of food in 2021 and is ranked 14th on the list of countries with the highest level of food waste. Spread said one reason for this is Japan’s strict regulations around expiration dates including those placed on fresh-cut vegetables.
Japan requires the viable bacteria count to be lower than 1m per 1g of product. Due to this, the shelf-life for fresh-cut lettuce in Japan is commonly set at three to four days.
Techno Fresh Hadano is expected to commence operations in June 2024 and will produce and sell six types of cut lettuce under the Indoor Salad brand.