One of Scandinavia’s leading vegetable suppliers says the recent addition of a Newtec’s high-speed packing line has helped it to become more sustainable and more efficient
Danish technology firm Newtec returns to Fruit Logistica in February, fresh from helping one of Scandinavia’s largest vegetable suppliers to automate its operations, minimise waste, and optimise its overall performance.
Nordic Greens grows tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and salad veg at state-of-the-art greenhouses in Funen, Denmark, and Trelleborg, Sweden. It recently took delivery of Newtec’s High Speed Container Filler (HSCF), which it says has enabled it to reach new levels of speed and efficiency.
“Production and the various packaging types are streamlined and fully automated compared to before, and the number of employees to handle this process is reduced,” explains Nordic Greens’ Rikke Dybkjær Pedersen.
Nordic Greens was apparently the first producer in Europe to hand-pick its products and place them directly into trays. That approach aimed to minimise damage to the products.
So perhaps unsurprisingly, it was concerned that automating the process could damage very sensitive items like tomatoes. That concern turned out to be unfounded.
“The quality of the product has also improved, as there is less handling compared to manual operations, and therefore the process is more gentle on the tomatoes,” Dybkjær Pedersen comments. “The solution is flexible, as we can run several types of packaging simply by changing the settings.”
Newtec’s technology is versatile enough to enable Nordic Greens to fill a range of different packaging containers, with everything managed via a touchscreen without too much human intervention. Apart from punnets, which can be open or foil wrapped, it also allows the supplier to run buckets and cups with lids through the line – all via flexible dispenser systems and adjustable punnet conveyors.
Dybkjær Pedersen says Newtec’s HSCF has helped the company boost its environmental sustainability too, by helping it to reduce its use of plastic, cut waste, speed up operations, and consume less energy.
“Sustainability and climate considerations are always high on our agenda in all our phases of production, and we therefore always choose packaging solutions that meet our high standards,” he says. “This means that we use recycled cardboard and 100 per cent recycled and reusable plastic, although it is not always the cheapest solution.”
Nordic Greens is a co-founder of Denmark against Food Waste, whose objective is to cut food waste by half in the food sector by 2030. In fact, the company says it has achieved the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal on food waste reduction ahead of target.