Bühler’s SORTEX PolarVision assures Blåtand berry quality

Swedish organic processor invests in advanced optical sorting technology to deliver even cleaner berries and ensure consistency in the shape, flavour and colour of its produce

SORTEX optical sorting technology is helping berry supplier Blåtand to drive efficiency in processing its wild berries, as it gears up for growth and expansion into new markets.

The international food company supplies high quality frozen berries, jams and fruit preparations to caterers, restaurants, wholesalers and retailers in the food industry. It prides itself on its environmentally friendly, ethical production meeting the highest standards across the chain, from forest to customer.

Blåtand’s hand-picked berries include deep blue bilberries and bright red lingonberries, a traditional Swedish staple. These health boosting berries are increasingly in demand around the world.

Research published by Rabobank last year highlighted European berry consumption is on track to mirror the success of the fruit in the US, where the healthy image of berries has helped them to become the highest value fresh produce category, with sales worth more than US$5.6 billion. In addition to retail markets, there is also growing demand for berries in the wider food and pharmaceutical industries.

Ulf Hagner, Managing Director at Blåtand, said: “Our goal was to create the best berry cleaning process on the market, making it possible to produce a high quality, class 1 product that is free from foreign material (FM). By combining the SORTEX F PolarVision optical sorter with our other cleaning equipment, we have achieved our goal and can now fulfil the requirements of the most demanding customers by supplying them with the highest quality frozen, cleaned berries.”

Blåtand is a key supplier to confectionery, bakery and dairy markets, and the pharmaceutical sector. The pharmaceutical sector uses bilberries as a key ingredient in supplements, to help treat eye problems such as macular degeneration and retina detachment.

We need to ensure the separation of colour defects, such as brown berries as well as the removal of stones, sticks, leaves, pine needles and mud balls, which are collected from the forest floor as the berries are gathered.

Blåtand processes approximately 5000 tonnes of berries on its 50m processing line, which is designed to handle delicate fruits without breakage. The addition of the SORTEX F optical sorter with PolarVision technology enables Blåtand to increase capacity and fulfil Hagner’s ambition to grow the business.

Zhanna Zhehet, Area Sales Manager at Bühler Sweden, said: “SORTEX PolarVision technology combines two dedicated FM detection cameras — the SORTEX PolarCam and high definition InGaAsHD, which remove difficult-to-detect defects and challenging FM, such as plastic, pieces of wet wood and small stones.

"Importantly for Blåtand, SORTEX PolarVision is installed on the new SORTEX F optical sorter, which is hygienically designed for zero-tolerance for product build-up, meaning there is a much lower risk of product contamination. It also consumes less energy — in-line with Blåtand’s environmental commitment.”

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