Quality control for fresh produce remains one of the biggest struggles for producers and exporters around the world. Poor quality control is not only an issue for consumers and retailers, but it represents a liability for the profitability of everyone involved in the supply chain.
Clarifruit, an Israel-based company was founded under the realization that the way the quality of fruits and vegetables is evaluated has hardly changed in decades, paving the way for next-gen technologies to help the supply chain reduce the existing waste.
“Around 75% of global produce companies are performing quality control procedures with pen and paper,” Cristobal Apablaza, head of Clarifruit for Latin America and Spain tells FreshFruitPortal.com.
This is why the company developed a software platform, composed of a mobile app & analytics dashboard, which can monitor produce quality, not only through data usage but also by leveraging proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
“We are reducing the risk of human error because our systems can detect quality issues with more than 20% higher accuracy than the human eye,” says Apablaza.
The company’s software, available through a phone app, allows the inspector to measure product quality in ten minutes using a couple of pictures and other data provided to the system.
“We aim to automate and make data collection objective, and also to provide the user with security in data collection to have reliable information for decision making,” he says.
Apablaza highlights that Clarifruit is the world’s most advanced quality control platform, which is the industry-only solution that offers color and size recognition through a mobile app alone.
Current progress and plans
“Our platform can recognize the color and size of a product, and in early 2024 we hope to roll out defect recognition on citrus, which is always the first fruit with which we test our developments because one of our founders owns citrus groves in Israel,” says Apablaza.
Throughout 2024, the company hopes to expand its defect recognition capability to other fruits such as tomato, apple, cherry, blueberry, grape, and stone fruit.
With a local presence across four continents, Clarifruit is present in EMEA, Asia-Pac, Latin America, and North America.
On the big stage
Some of the industry’s largest and most innovative companies, such as Dole, Zespri, and Sunkist, among others, have already adopted Clarifruit’s technology into their global quality control operations.
“We selected Clarifruit because of their technology, but also because of the knowledge, experience, and availability of their team. Despite the distance, and the difficulties for remote implementation during the pandemic, Clarifruit has demonstrated an incredible ability to work together because of their resilience and joint motivation to make this project work,” says Barbara Guerpillon, president of Dole Ventures.
“I would describe our offer as extremely flexible, designed to work with large, medium, and small companies. For example, we have a client in Spain that works with only a few users, and then there are companies like Sunkist and Dole working with a large number of users,” adds Apablaza.
Apablaza notes that the biggest challenge to implementing the technology usually comes from the work culture of some companies.
If a company tells us, ‘I work like this, and I want your technology to adapt to my process,’ then we have to explain why our system does things differently, but in a much more effective way. So we don’t only sell the software, we also do consulting and mentoring to improve each company’s efficiency,” he says.
Clarifruit attended the 2023 Global Produce and Floral Show in October where the focus was on technology and innovation to advance the produce industry. This fits very well with the company’s mission, as it aims to reduce costs, labor time, and effort and increase profitability and reliability across the supply chain.
“What we’ve heard from companies is that they want to work with different types of software that provide them with reliable, quick, and easy-to-evaluate information to have a ‘technological ecosystem’ within the company,” says Apablaza. “Additionally, the fact that we can integrate to any customer’s ERP system enables the customer to continue and manage its business smoothly”, continues Apablaza.
Common conscience is that large companies don’t want to keep buying large structures for their operations, but rather efficient and user-friendly technologies.
“We have proven to reduce product rejections at point of sale, waste, and price negotiations by appx 20%,” assures Apablaza.
The reduction of risks regarding the quality of the fruit is of higher importance for producers and exporters in a market that has become more and more demanding and competitive. Technologies such as the ones offered by Clarifruit offer industry members the possibility of reducing these risks and increasing their profits.