One of the fruit and veg industry’s top technology providers has achieved a century in business, a remarkable milestone for a group that rolled out its first ever fruit sizer all the way back in 1924.

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Fruit sorters have come a long way. In 1924, a wooden machine built in Massa Lombarda, a small commune between Ravenna and Bologna, gave growers in the surrounding area the chance to separate smaller and larger sized fruit. This made it easier for them to give the market what it wanted.

A hundred years later, the conveyor belt of innovation has delivered some remarkable and sophisticated new technologies, from near-infrared sensing to ‘see’ inside fruit, to robotic arms that can assemble a pallet of cartons in minutes.

All of that change has carried this part of the fresh produce supply chain far from its simple beginnings.

That original machine was produced by a company called Dalle Vacche. Eventually, this enterprise would be transformed into Unitec, one of the world’s largest and most successful suppliers of fresh produce processing machines.

Today, Unitec offers a vast array of technology that makes it possible for growers, exporters and marketers of more than 50 different products to classify their harvests according to the size, internal quality and external appearance of individual fruits or vegetables, to pack them and carry them along complicated processing lines, and to deliver them in optimal condition to customers.

And while it faces plenty of competition from other tech firms that have similarly helped suppliers to improve and guarantee their quality, Unitec’s commitment to innovation and excellence marks it out as a market leader.

“One hundred years is a timeframe that could make one feel old, but not in our case,” comments Angelo Benedetti, president of Unitec. “The average age of the Unitec team is 35 years, and the inspiration and motivation that our customers around the world give us every day, by trusting us, are a long-life elixir for us.”

As it marks its one-hundredth anniversary, Benedetti believes Unitec’s ability to secure real benefits for its partner customers is what sets it apart. “This is the positive energy that nourishes us, allowing us to look forward to the next hundred years,” he adds. “Thank you to every customer who trusted us over these hundred years.”

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