Clarifruit https://www.clarifruit.com/ Just another WordPress site Mon, 28 Nov 2022 15:11:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://www.clarifruit.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/fav-150x150.png Clarifruit https://www.clarifruit.com/ 32 32 Lessons Amplified from the Global Produce and Floral Show 2022! https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/lessons-global-produce-floral-show-2022/ Mon, 28 Nov 2022 15:05:27 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/lidar-technology-for-unparalleled-accuracy-copy-2/ We had the most amazing time at last month’s Global Produce and Floral show 2022! Now that the dust has settled we want to share key messages.

The post Lessons Amplified from the Global Produce and Floral Show 2022! appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Lessons Amplified from the Global Produce and Floral Show!

We had the most amazing time at last month’s Global Produce and Floral show #GPFS2022! We’re so delighted that we managed to meet up with so many of you, both existing customers and new partners and friends, so a big thanks to everyone who made the trip to Orlando to see us. 

Now that the dust has settled from an awesome experience, we wanted to share some of the key messages that we identified from spending time with customers, colleagues and the wider network of the fresh produce industry. Here’s how we see it! 

The Fresh Produce Supply Chain is Recovering

Fresh produce is one of many industries that has experienced challenges over the past 3 years. From the lockdowns of COVID-19, to the significant disruptions to the supply chain, and escalating climate changes, it’s not been easy to be in our business! Examples include shipping delays, a lack of equipment such as refrigerated containers, and capacity and labor constraints in the trucking and delivery industry. On top of that, Congress uncovered that the costs of fertilizer rose 35%, while pesticides soared by 25%. It’s been a tough ride. 

However, with demand remaining stable, we can see that the market is slowly recovering. Fruit and vegetable imports are now on the rise, and we can see in practice how innovation is gradually reducing the impact of the skills gap, and supporting businesses in increasing their revenues. 

The Margin for Error has Narrowed Significantly

That’s not to say that the challenges of the past few years haven’t left their mark. For most players in the fresh produce supply chain, the margin for error has reduced, making every single decision more important and impactful to the bottom line. A rejected shipment can have a costly impact on the whole value chain, as well as the environment more widely. A third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally each year. 

We’re seeing more and more businesses look for ways to ensure consistency of quality, and to reduce the risk of quality mismatches and rejections between sellers and buyers. Streamlining quality control decisions between sellers and buyers has become a top priority. 

Digitalization is on Everyone’s Lips, and their Roadmaps

To reduce quality mismatches, and to add standardization and consistency to the supply chain, the buzzword at GPFS2022 was digitalization! In particular, the ability to automate quality assurance is top of mind, and the industry’s largest players are ready to act in order to mitigate growing risks. 

We are also experiencing another growing trend. Multiple large exporters and packers/shippers have previously developed their own IT system to collect their quality data. However, they are now recognizing that making the leap into AI-powered quality assurance is beyond their stand-alone IT and data processing resources. As a result, they are contemplating a partnership with a 3rd-party platform.

We are seeing strong interest for commercially-proven solutions that can: 

  • Eliminate the reliance on legacy solutions, whether that’s pen and paper or Excel or spreadsheet tools. 
  • Create a common language around fresh produce standards, so that each grading isn’t subjective and siloed.
  • Reduce the manual effort involved in QC, while adding peace of mind to the outcomes of inspections.
  • Standardize the process of quality control anywhere, removing the subjective approach of individual QC inspectors. 
  • Augment shipments with visibility, so that managers have access to real-time data about their produce and its status. 
  • Add intelligence to quality control, tracking the root cause of rejections, and providing evidence for inspector decisions.

Clarifruit is Going From Strength to Strength!

As the only player in this space that offers an AI-powered quality control platform for fresh produce, we have been watching this evolution of the market with interest and excitement! During the conference, we got to speak to many major players in the industry about starting their Clarifruit journey, and we can’t wait to share these success stories with the community in due course. 

As always, we’re continuing to expand and improve our solution, and we used GPFS 2022 as an opportunity to unveil our next-gen LiDAR sensor. This will significantly enhance user experience when performing an inspection, and removes the need for a sizing reference to be used while taking in-app photos. 

If you missed us at the conference, but are interested in seeing how the platform works, you can check it out here. Reach out with any questions, we’d be happy to help. 

The post Lessons Amplified from the Global Produce and Floral Show 2022! appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Introducing LiDAR Technology for Unparalleled Accuracy When Sizing Fresh Produce https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/lidar-technology-for-unparalleled-accuracy/ Tue, 15 Nov 2022 08:34:06 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=3476 Clarifruit has proven to be a transformative platform enabling PROTO to inspect tens of thousands of different fruits throughout the year, saving on inspection time, reducing rejection rates, and ensuring quality standards are fully met.

The post Introducing LiDAR Technology for Unparalleled Accuracy When Sizing Fresh Produce appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
At Clarifruit, one of our overarching goals has always been to make measuring the attributes of fresh fruits and vegetables as simple as taking a photo. That’s why we’re so excited to announce a game-changing update to the Clarifruit platform – the addition of LiDAR technology for sizing your produce. 

Does Size Matter?

The Clarifruit solution measures all visual attributes of fruits and vegetables, from the color of a tomato, to the stem color of a cherry, the defects on a banana, and much more. 

While some measurements are straightforward, such as recognizing the color of a bunch of table grapes by examining the photo, other measurements are more complicated. Size, for example, requires some additional information. 

Think about the example of two apples, where one is much larger than the other. By placing the larger apple further away from the camera, and positioning the smaller one at closer range, it would be easy to “trick” a viewer into thinking that they are the same size. Without additional information, it becomes impossible to measure the exact size of produce. 

This is a critical problem to solve, as most regions have strict rules in place about monitoring and sharing this information. For example, food placed in the EU market has labeling legislation that includes size and class data which refers to specific marketing standards. You can see an example of mango packaging, ready for export, with the size designation marked below.

LiDAR technology

Why LiDAR?

As part of our mission to continually improve and optimize the Clarifruit platform, we are delighted to announce the addition of LiDAR technology to solve this exact problem, and add accuracy to sizing for all fresh fruits and vegetables. 

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and is a sensor that is used to measure the distance to an object. It works by sending a beam of light, or a laser, to the destination object, and then measures the amount of time it takes for that light to reflect back. It has very high levels of accuracy, and is therefore used in many critical industries such as autonomous vehicles, and arial surface mapping. 

As of 2020, LiDAR has become available on mobile devices, opening up this technology to a wider range of applications, and supporting end users in accessing the benefits in a cost-effective, efficient, and flexible way. 

Since day one, we’ve always worked closely with our customers, listening to their needs and requirements and supporting them with their business growth. As LiDAR has become increasingly accessible, we saw a way to implement this technology to delight our users, and to solve the sizing challenge. 

The Benefits for our Customers

One of the most exciting benefits of using LiDAR is that users can take photos from any distance or angle. There’s no need for guidelines or a steep learning curve to get up to speed (as there is no need for a reference device to take place within the pics anymore), and even brand-new inspectors can simply snap and go, getting accurate information in the palm of their hands – in real time. 

Additionally, the LiDAR technology opens the path for the grower segment to use Clarifruit’s computer vision technology. Taking a photo with a LiDAR-enabled mobile device at the field or the orchard is significantly easier than the existing alternative so far

The technology has been live in the Clarifruit platform for just a few weeks, and we’re already getting a lot of really positive feedback from customers. In particular, the lack of restrictions for how to take photos, and the simple user experience of the application is clearly a winner, allowing inspectors to take photos anywhere, whether that’s in the field, on the shelf, or in a packing house.

The value is not just for the inspectors, either. QC managers can rely on the technology to guarantee a far lower margin for error, streamlining efficiencies across the value chain and ensuring the most accurate quality control system available. 

Have you tried LiDAR for sizing fresh produce yet? Start here, for free.

The post Introducing LiDAR Technology for Unparalleled Accuracy When Sizing Fresh Produce appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
How new QC technology is revolutionizing logistics in the produce industry https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/how-new-qc-technology-is-revolutionizing-logistics-in-the-produce-industry/ Tue, 01 Nov 2022 05:19:56 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=3446 Clarifruit has proven to be a transformative platform enabling PROTO to inspect tens of thousands of different fruits throughout the year, saving on inspection time, reducing rejection rates, and ensuring quality standards are fully met.

The post How new QC technology is revolutionizing logistics in the produce industry appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

How new QC technology is revolutionizing logistics in the produce industry

From a standalone shop to one of Greece’s biggest exporters of fresh produce

Almost 100 years ago, a small lemon shop opened in Saloniki, Greece. From these modest beginnings, Protofanousis Fruits (PROTO) is now one of the biggest exporters of fresh produce in Greece, exporting cherries, kiwifruits, and grapes to customers worldwide.

The search for efficient Quality Control (QC) solutions

The company, led by Nikos Protofanousis, has always focused on cutting edge investment in technology, emphasizing 360 QC control from the field to the destination. Proto implemented an ERP system about 20 years ago and tried to create an internal quality system by incorporating their WMS system into the ERP and manually importing quality measurements. Creating a quality database using this methodology proved to be challenging and resource-consuming.

The search for a more efficient method of handling quality control led George Kallitsis, PROTO’s Commercial Director (who was always on the lookout for new technological solutions for the company), to Clarifruit.

Focused on real-time data for decision making

The deciding factor in selecting Clarifruit’s cloud-based QC software lay in its mobile solution. “That really clicked for us,” recalled Nick

Pardalis, Proto’s QA Manager, “the ability to check quality with a simple mobile phone.”

Pardalis notes that anyone working in the fruit business at the packhouse level knows that conducting quality control can be challenging. While teaching his staff to use the ERP system took quite some time, introducing Clarifruit was quick and easy. Within ten minutes, the team was able to use the app.

Because of its ease of use, most inspectors were able to use it independently following initial training – with no need to contact support. Clarifruit’s easy to use interface also means there’s no need for an IT person to run it. It’s easy to import all of a client’s databases into the system, and once the client’s specs have been entered, conducting accurate, on-the-spot QC checks is simple.

Pardalis explains that Proto creates a separate standard for each client which can be easily updated. “There’s no need to inform inspectors of changes to the specs because they immediately see if the measurements they’ve taken pass the specs or not — in real time.”

Instead of having to deal with vast amounts of quality data in the ERP system, Clarifruit collects, analyzes, and quickly delivers the data, which helps PROTO see what’s happening on the ground on a larger scale, much faster.

“It’s easier for me to make decisions far more quickly based on a week’s quality data as compared to the ERP system,” notes Pardalis, adding that the way Clarifruit creates reports and presents data has been extremely helpful in making decisions.

20% reduction in quality control inspection time

Customers facing inspection time issues who want to reduce time will find that Clarifruit significantly reduces QC times. “Clarifuit has saved at least 20% in the time it takes to carry out QC,” says Pardalis. “20% is a huge amount of time throughout the course of a working day. If you run 150 inspections per shift and save 20% on that – you’re able to carry out more inspections.”

Pardalis notes that it’s important that the person setting Clarifruit up within the operation knows what they are doing and adjusts each screen accordingly but says that even if someone has just started using it, they will save a large amount of time.

Improved quality control

PROTO has seen an improvement in quality in the sense that it’s easier to identify products that are out of specification, which is measured by how many pallets or boxes are put aside. The company is able to find defects faster, carry out checks, identify out-of-spec produce and put it aside. Pardalis points out that while Clarifruit helps to reduce rejection rates from the customer, it also increases internal rejection rates because inspectors are able to identify more problematic products.

Top 3 features

Pardalis has identified 3 key features that he finds extremely useful:

  1. Mobile camera — using the mobile device’s camera to see the color or size of produce
  2. Defect photos — photos show details of the defect (such as skin defect) and enable inspectors to see exactly what the defect is
  3. Checklists — these enable the produce to be checked for other parameters such as boxing or labeling

Results you can trust

“By cross-checking Clarifruit with manual checks you can see the camera’s algorithm is quite accurate,” notes Pardalis. “You can trust Clarifruit to make safe assumptions on size, which is especially helpful in the field where there isn’t a lot of equipment or space to carry out inspections.”

He points out that even the best machinery or software can’t create magic – if the product is good, it’s good, and if it’s not, it’s not! Clarifruit defines the quality standard for each client, so the inspector knows what they are measuring without having to go back and check specifications.

The company uses Clarifruit both on the farm and the finished product, enabling it to be checked in the same condition it arrives at their customers — regardless of whether the produce is loose or on a pallet.

The bottom line: Clarifruit has proven to be a transformative platform enabling PROTO to inspect tens of thousands of different fruits throughout the year, saving on inspection time, reducing rejection rates, and ensuring quality standards are fully met.

 

The post How new QC technology is revolutionizing logistics in the produce industry appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Reducing Global Food Waste with Clarifruit https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/reducing-global-food-waste-with-clarifruit/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 08:39:44 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=3321 Food waste is an enormous problem worldwide, with the United Nations reporting that nearly half of all fruits and vegetables are wasted each year, making this category the most wasted food item in the world. What’s causing all of this loss, and how can automated Quality Contol (QC) make the difference?

The post Reducing Global Food Waste with Clarifruit appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

Reducing Global Food Waste with Clarifruit

Food waste is an enormous problem worldwide, with the United Nations reporting that nearly half of all fruits and vegetables are wasted each year, making this category the most wasted food item in the world. What’s causing all of this loss, and how can automated Quality Contol (QC) make the difference?

The global food waste problem

While food waste is a universal issue, the stats differ between regions. For example, in the US, consumer-level waste is a much greater issue than anywhere else, while in Africa, the largest losses are at the transformation and packing stage. Either way, that’s billions of people who could be benefiting from the fruits and vegetables and seeing greater food security if we could improve food loss and waste. 

Loss wastage of fruits and vegetables

Across the board however, there is a huge amount of waste during Agricultural production and post-harvest handling and storage. Based on Harvard University Research, one study estimates the world is currently producing just 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables the population needs, showing how important it is to reduce food wastage.

Food waste is bad for the environment, a poor use of resources, limits the revenues of the stakeholders across the value chain, and worst of all – is much more preventable than people realize.

Why does food waste occur?

To understand this global food problem, let’s think about the world’s most popular produce category – the tomato. While one study uncovered that in one case 86.7% of a tomato crop was thrown away due to weird shapes or sizes, even if we think about much lower numbers, this is still a huge amount of food. The name given to this kind of waste is “quality mismatches.”

The farmer or grower picks a harvest of tomatoes, and then thinks about their buyers. If they can’t find the right buyer for the produce, it gets wasted. The farmers don’t want to take the risk to send the produce “just in case”, because the costs of shipping and packaging are great, and a rejection would represent a heavy loss to their bottom line.

We can split the global waste problem into three key reasons:

 1.   Lack of standardized language

 

Meet the Fresh Produce version of “people speak different languages”. Each stakeholder has their own idea of what a high-quality tomato is, and in the fresh produce industry, there are no agreed standards for what a Grade A tomato is, or a Grade C. 

Instead, the buyer builds his own 20-page PDF document with his own quality specifications outlined, and this completely unstructured document is left to be interpreted by the seller. That means that while a supplier might consider this crop to be chock-full of Grade A produce, the buyer might have a different description in his own quality specs, and this will be true for each and every buyer. The shipment arrives at the buyer’s dock, and the buyer rejects it immediately, as although they both consider the shipment to be Grade A, it doesn’t meet their specific expectations.

For the seller, this issue is a big one, as a rejection can cause a serious hit to their revenues. Why take the risk of sending a shipment which is borderline to the buyer, if they can simply send it to a less demanding buyer and be guaranteed a sale? For the buyer, this causes a stock issue. They want to be certain that they will fill their shelves, and yet they can’t be certain that the fruits and vegetables are the right quality until they arrive.

2.   Subjectivity

 

Fresh fruits and vegetable quality control is also about a lot more than just a simple grade. Under the grade, there are dozens of parameters, from size and color, to numerous defects which vary between different fruits and vegetables. To one stakeholder, a tomato will be large, or have minor defects, while to another, it will be medium-sized, and the defects will be more severe. The same is true when it comes to an objective view of the produce’s color or shape.

While the language is the major problem, there is also definitely an issue of objectivity, or lack of it, going on. The fact that the current quality inspection process is primarily manual is a key reason for that. If you can’t trust that the buyer will have the same view as you about whether a tomato is red or orange, how can you know that they will accept your price or your shipment at all?

3.   Lack of real-time data 

 

Of course, there are also going to be issues when it comes to the process of how the fruits and vegetables are picked, handled, stored and transported. As you can see in the graph above, a large percentage of the waste happens at these stages of the journey.

Stakeholders need real-time visibility into where problems are occurring, for example recognizing that cold storage has damaged a selection of pallets, or that the quality reduces after using a certain transportation company or warehouse, in order to optimize matching of produce quality

Understanding the value of Clarifruit

When we think about these three problems, they can all be solved (or meaningfully mitigated, as a first step) with next-gen technologies that have significantly developed over the last decade in other industries, namely the software industry. Digitalization, AI and cloud-based technologies can standardize languages, add objectivity and enable real-time visibility of data, which is exactly what Clarifruit offers with its automated solution for quality control. 

Inspectors simply take a photo of the produce, and Clarifruit’s computer vision technology will provide an objective grading (of external attributes) that doesn’t change from inspector to inspector. This removes the issue of objectivity from the equation. By creating digital specifications inside Clarifruit, you can translate your buyer or seller language into any other stakeholder’s, so that you can view how your grading system compares to theirs.

For example, as a seller, you run an inspection on a tomato yield, and it comes up Grade B. You can then automatically view your results side by side with the buyer specs, and see that this is actually one of your buyer’s Grade A, therefore getting a better price for the crop, while feeling confident that you won’t experience any rejects or renegotiations. As you can do this at scale, you can quickly see what a specific shipment would mean to each of your potential buyers, and then make the right choice.

As inspections can be run as many times as you need, you can task staff with taking inspections at critical points along the journey, from pre-harvest, to storage, transportation and more, allowing you to get more granular insight into your produce and understand when and how issues occur. This means you can make intelligent changes to your process to get better outcomes moving forward.

Altogether, using Clarifruit can reduce the waste at the supplier segment by 20%, which is a 2% reduction in waste overall. This translates to millions of fruits and vegetables every single year, saving the economy $18 billion, and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger and Responsible Consumption and Production.   

Apply here to try Clarifruit for yourself, and be part of the solution to the growing global waste crisis.

The post Reducing Global Food Waste with Clarifruit appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Creating a Consistent Language for Fresh Produce Quality Control Is a Win for Buyers and Sellers https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/creating-a-consistent-language-for-fresh-produce-qc-is-a-win-for-buyers-and-sellers/ Fri, 22 Jul 2022 18:41:00 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=3260 When it comes to the fresh fruits and vegetables value chain, stakeholders will regularly find themselves standing on opposite sides of the table. After all, buyers gotta buy and sellers gotta sell! These goals should be complementary, and yet there’s a lot of friction between the two parties. What's causing all the conflict? A seemingly simple language barrier, and it's all centered around quality control.

The post Creating a Consistent Language for Fresh Produce Quality Control Is a Win for Buyers and Sellers appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

Creating a Consistent Language for Fresh Produce QC Is a Win for Buyers and Sellers

When it comes to the fresh fruits and vegetables value chain, stakeholders will regularly find themselves standing on opposite sides of the table. After all, buyers gotta buy and sellers gotta sell! These goals should be complementary, and yet there’s a lot of friction between the two parties. What’s causing all the conflict? A seemingly simple language barrier, and it’s all centered around quality control.

Your QC process works for you… but that’s not enough

 

The problem is that the definitions around quality control are not well defined in the industry. We’ve spoken in the past about how there is no standard when setting specific grades for fresh produce. As quality is the basic parameter that buyers and sellers use to align their deals, this is a big problem.

But why? Can’t a buyer just rely on the seller’s quality control specifications.

The knee-jerk reaction to this question is probably around objectivity. Buyers may say that they can’t rely on the seller’s view of their own produce, because what if they are looking at it subjectively, subconsciously giving it a better grade to help them to boost the price, or just according to their own expectations and opinions?

Objectivity is definitely an important part of the problem, but actually the issues go much deeper than worrying about whether the seller’s QC manager considers that tomato to be red or orange. It’s less about objectivity, and more about the physical language of the quality control specification for each and every buyer and seller across the whole value chain. The truth is that most companies have a specification that they have been using and iterating internally for decades. They have their own way of doing QC, and with it, they have their own language and process.

If a wholesaler shares their quality specification with a retailer, and marks a shipment of table grapes as a quality Grade B, that just isn’t sufficient for the retailer to equate with their own Grade B. It doesn’t mean anything to the retailer, as the wholesaler’s methods are not likely to be the same as their own. The buyer needs to do their own inspection to get an objective view, but also to see what “Grade B” means in their language, which could be Grade A, C, or anything else.

What’s causing the tension?

To understand why this causes such a problem on both sides, you need to take a step back and think about the mindset of both parties. When a seller has a shipment, they need to know that they are going to make their revenues. They might think they know how much a particular yield is worth, and feel confident about its quality, but are they confident enough to risk rejection? What if their Grade B is actually the buyer’s Grade C? In many cases, worrying that a buyer may view the produce as landing on the wrong side of the line and renegotiate or even reject, a seller will decide to send it to a less demanding buyer, even if that means accepting less money. The peace of mind is worth the price differential.

For a buyer, this lack of shared language creates an operational problem. The buyer needs to make sure that they have 100% of the produce they need, whether that’s to hand over to their own customer, or to physically stock shelves in-store for end customers. Without visibility into the quality of the sellers’ goods, they need to over prepare, ordering more than they need.

 

The Clarifruit solution: Hurdling the language barrier

The Clarifruit platform attacks this issue on both fronts, supporting better objectivity, and creating the ability to traverse the language barrier. First, our computer vision technology uses AI to ensure that inspections are fully objective, and don’t rely on human QC managers eyeballing a shipment and making a manual judgment which can change from inspector to inspector, or at different times of day.

Second, if you create a digital specification with the Clarifruit platform, this allows you to translate your spec to any other buyer or seller “language”, to streamline quality control between the two entities. You can run your own inspection once, and then Clarifruit will pull the data from the buyer’s specs, so that you can view your inspection against the specification of any buyer, seeing the results translated into the buyer’s own unique language and grading system. If a certain defect to you wouldn’t bump the produce down to Grade B, but it would for one of your buyers, this will be reflected on the report.

At scale, you can simulate the results of sending a specific shipment to all of your potential buyers at once, viewing all results, and then understanding at a glance which would be the best fit, ensuring that you as the seller receive the best revenues for your yield.

At the same time, as the buyer in the scenario, you can ensure that the produce you’re receiving is fit for purpose, aligned with your own specifications and grading systems, and reducing the operational overhead and costs of over purchasing ahead of time.

Try it for yourself for free, you could have your first digital spec up and running in minutes.

The post Creating a Consistent Language for Fresh Produce Quality Control Is a Win for Buyers and Sellers appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Commercial Blueberry Harvesting: How is the Blueberry Industry Improving Quality Control? https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/commercial-blueberry-harvesting-how-is-the-blueberry-industry-improving-qc/ Thu, 19 May 2022 09:26:22 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=3051 It’s the start of blueberry harvest season, and we’re here for it! As blueberry production grows in leaps and bounds, stakeholders across the supply chain are looking to improve the ratio of fresh blueberries to other forms, as fresh berries can fetch double to triple the market value of those which have been processed. In this blog post, we explore how the blueberry industry can improve its quality control processes through automation, big data and Artificial Intelligence.

The post Commercial Blueberry Harvesting: How is the Blueberry Industry Improving Quality Control? appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

It’s the start of blueberry harvest season, and we’re here for it! 

Blueberry production has been growing in leaps and bounds over the past few years, with the projection for 2022-2023 estimated at 1.5 billion pounds, up 13.2% on the 2021-2022 season, according to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Blueberries have a great reputation, widely thought of as a superfood with great nutritional benefits, making them desirable to today’s consumers.

However, not all blueberry supply is the same, and stakeholders are always looking to improve the ratio of fresh blueberries to other forms, as fresh berries can fetch double to triple the market value of those which have been processed. 

Kasey Cronquist, president of the council commented, “We’re expecting an excellent highbush crop with fresh blueberries representing 71% of the projected volume with the balance going to frozen, dried and other forms of processed blueberries.” Stakeholders across the value chain have an incentive to improve their quality control and handling processes from end to end to meet and surpass similar goals. 

How do our customers improve blueberry harvest results?

At Clarifruit, we work with many customers to improve the quality of fresh produce quality control – blueberries included. For example, one customer – Migiva, moved from a manual process of tracking blueberry quality control with pen and paper, to digitizing all of their data using the Clarifruit platform. Understanding that the timing of the harvest was essential for the quality of their blueberry yield, and that a harvest too early or too late could impact the ripeness and the taste of the fruit, Migiva can now inspect pre-harvest as often as they need to, even inspecting different sections of their fields in isolation, to get the knowledge and quality for each sector.

Migiva blueberry inspections

To do this, customers create different standards with the help of internal and external quality attributes such as color and Brix levels, and then they can answer questions such as, is this the right time to harvest, or should we wait another 2-3 days, or even another week? The same quality control standards can be used for each quality control checkpoint, whether that’s pre-harvest, during reception of the crop, or later on at the packing house and pre-shipping.

What information does Clarifruit provide?

As well as recognizing when the right time for harvesting blueberries should be, you can also use Clarifruit to identify specific defects in your harvest. You might be able to spot insect damage with the naked eye, but sometimes the damage done by a blueberry-specific pest such as the blueberry gall midge or the blueberry tip borer is hard to see until it’s already done damage to more of the crop. In general, you can’t always see what’s happening under the surface, for example moisture is a sign of good quality blueberries, but it could also be due to recent rainfall, and there’s no way for your human QC inspectors to tell these two situations apart with surety. As QC is so much faster with the Clarifruit platform than with traditional manual processes, businesses can expand the size of their sampling, getting visibility into a greater percentage of the yield, and therefore reducing the risk of rejections overall.

Blueberries Blueberries Blueberries Blueberry quality control

In addition, you can use Clarifruit’s computer vision technology to segment your yield, and share information across the business, so that stakeholders know the quality of the fruit ahead of time. They could decide if they are going to need more premium packages and less basic ones and thereby make smarter information with the right data to hand.

During the final product inspection, Clarifruit can also support issues such as ensuring all blueberry packaging containers are the same weight with the right amount of fruit inside. If the boxes are too heavy, this can cause a lot of loss on their side, giving away free produce they aren’t charging adequately for. With data to hand, the company can ensure that even with a million boxes going out every day, the range of weight is how it should be.

Want to discuss improving your digital processes between this year’s blueberry harvest and the next? Schedule a demo of the Clarifruit solution, or better yet – start for yourself immediately, for free!

The post Commercial Blueberry Harvesting: How is the Blueberry Industry Improving Quality Control? appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Separating Quality Grading from the QC Process – a Game Changer for Fresh Produce Supply Chain Management https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/separating-quality-grading-from-the-qc-process/ Thu, 14 Apr 2022 07:11:36 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/legacy-vs-ai-powered-qc-solutions-copy/ One of the most pressing issues in the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain industry is the lack of a common language. Each customer provides a comprehensive list of instructions for anything from color, shape and size to Brix levels and defect tolerances. This PDF can be twenty pages long, and an average marketing company or wholesaler’s customer list could include anywhere from 50-100 customers. One customer’s A-standard is another customer’s C-standard. When we built the Clarifruit platform, we kept all of this in mind and created a smart solution that allows businesses to sidestep the complexity of multiple languages. Here’s how it works.

The post Separating Quality Grading from the QC Process – a Game Changer for Fresh Produce Supply Chain Management appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

How would you describe your perfect apple? For one, it might be tart and crunchy, while for another it’s sweet and grainy. The “wrong” apple is completely subjective, and yet you can ruin a toddler’s day just by cutting it up in a shape they weren’t expecting, let alone if the taste doesn’t meet their expectations.

One of the most pressing issues in the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain industry is the lack of a common language. Each customer provides a comprehensive list of instructions for anything from color, shape and size to Brix levels and defect tolerances. This PDF can be twenty pages long, and an average marketing company or wholesaler’s customer list could include anywhere from 50-100 customers. One customer’s A-standard is another customer’s C-standard. You see the challenge.

When we built the Clarifruit platform, we kept all of this in mind (fussy toddlers not included) and created a smart solution that allows businesses to sidestep the complexity of multiple languages. Here’s how it works.

The traditional method of managing quality control: processes and standards bound together as one

There are three main realities we see when customers knock on our door. In the first case, they have no system in place for quality control at all, and are using pen and paper and manual effort. Option number two is an Excel sheet or some other simple spreadsheet-based solution. Finally, some customers will have a full software solution.

In all of these solutions – the processes and the standards are bound together as one. You enter the Brix level of the produce into the Excel spreadsheet and you’ll get a quality grade as the output. But what does this quality grade mean in practice? Very little. If you have 20 customers out of 100 who are considered to have “high standards”, you can send these customers the Type A graded produce, but for the differences between each customer, you have almost no control or visibility – not without a whole lot of manual effort to compare the quality to each customer’s specific language and standards.

Separating the standards from the process of capturing information

Instead, Clarifruit’s management platform separates the process of recording information about a shipment from the calculation of the grades. First, the QC manager decides what information they want to record. They can define as many processes as they want, add or remove fields with ease, and self-serve a simple digital platform for collecting the right information at any stage, for example creating a specific process for the intake stage of QC. The UI is smoother and cleaner than the competition – but this isn’t where we raise the bar for the industry.  

Separating the standards from the process of capturing information

The major difference comes when you look at the separate method we use for translating this information into the quality grade. While the rest of the industry has bound these two steps together, we have separated it out to support your business growth and decision-making abilities.

Standards

With a single click, you can complete analytics on any single process, comparing the produce to each and every customer, understanding at a glance which customer would be right for a specific shipment. Instead of guessing whether the customer’s needs align with the fresh produce, or using your own internal company specs and hoping for the best, it’s all laid out in front of you on a single dashboard, with each parameter clearly marked against customer requirements and standards.

Comparison Report

This also adds benefits for the buyer, who can request the raw data from their supplier to get a clear view of all the parameters, analyze it in-depth, and then set the data against their own quality specs and standards. 

Moving from unstructured data to a single pane of glass

Clarifruit is the only system available that has the capability to separate the process of inputting information from the standards themselves, and allows a business to configure all of their customer specifications digitally, onboarding them into the platform for easy comparison and analysis against any shipment. With a single click, the business receives a report that aligns any inspection with the needs of multiple customers, seamlessly handling hundreds of customer specs in real-time.

This allows the business to make smart decisions about who the best customer is for the produce. This is more than just comparing grades to find the best fit and the least chance of a rejection or renegotiation. It also allows for smart decisions about revenue, such as sending the produce to the customer that will pay more for the shipment, even if the score is less of a perfect fit. With all the data to hand, and a fraction of the manual work included – your time is suddenly freed up for strategic decision making.

Don’t take our word for it – try it for yourself free, you can start immediately here.

The post Separating Quality Grading from the QC Process – a Game Changer for Fresh Produce Supply Chain Management appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Fresh Produce Quality Control: Legacy vs AI-Powered Solutions https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/legacy-vs-ai-powered-qc-solutions/ Thu, 24 Mar 2022 07:17:42 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=2766 Agriculture and farming are believed to be the world’s oldest professions, but are your processes for quality control living in the stone age? We take a look at the traditional methods still in place for some of the largest companies in the world, and how innovators are using the latest technologies to digitize and modernize to reduce waste and drive up revenues.

The post Fresh Produce Quality Control: Legacy vs AI-Powered Solutions appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

Agriculture and farming are believed to be the world’s oldest professions, but are your fresh produce quality control processes still living in the stone age? We take a look at the traditional methods still in place for some of the largest companies in the world, and how innovators are using the latest technologies to digitize and modernize to reduce waste and drive up revenues.

At the point of inspection – put your pen and paper away

Long before automation and digitization, inspectors created manual tools to measure the quality control of fresh produce. Color charts, sizing rings, rules, calipers and micrometers are all still used widely to ascertain the standard and quality of produce, which is then given a rating from A-D. This information is usually written down with a pen and paper at the moment of inspection, and then regularly inputted into systems of record, whether that’s a physical filing cabinet, or the digital equivalent – an Excel file on local systems.

These processes are incredibly limited. First, they are heavily subjective, as if you get two people in a room there is no guarantee they will agree about the color of a single tangerine, let alone a whole shipment. In addition, across different cultures, what qualifies as an A-level bunch of table grapes might be vastly different, with certain having lower tolerance for discoloration or cosmetic defects.

Next, there is no evidence to support the inspectors claim, so weeks or months later when the shipment arrives at the buyer’s door, there’s no way to prove the quality check was accurate, and no visibility into where any changes may have occurred. All sellers can do is hope for the best.

The impact of rejections – even worse than at high school dances

No-one likes rejection, but for growers, marketing companies and distribution centers, rejection can take a huge toll on profit and business continuity. When a shipment arrives at the buyer and is rejected, this results in far more than just the potential loss of the produce itself. It also results in wasted time, damaged relationships with the vendor, hours of employee time down the drain, not to mention the repackaging and shipment costs themselves. Altogether this could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Traditionally, a rejection was also a black box. Companies couldn’t investigate the cause of the rejection because they only used manual tools and processes to ascertain the quality of the produce to begin with. Instead, they relied on assumptions, which made it impossible to learn for next time.

The Clarifruit difference – computer vision technology and a cloud-based platform

The new generation of tools takes the oldest industry in the world and makes it smart and digitized for the first time. Clarifruit uses computer vision technology from a simple mobile app so that QC inspectors can take the subjectivity out of their work altogether.

By scanning the produce directly from the app, they not only save time (2 minutes per inspection instead of 7-10 minutes) but they can also ensure that all of the information on each shipment is automatically centralized with standardized ratings. This lowers the chance and impact of rejection in the following three ways:

  1. We generate a common language around fresh produce between different cultures, countries and continents. We have created an international standard for quality evaluation that is based on objective AI and computer vision technology, and it can be used anywhere across the supply chain and in the world. This helps you to quite literally speak the same language as your customers, ensuring buyers and sellers are on the same page.
  2. We provide evidence to support inspector decisions. At each inspection point, buyers can physically see from the app what shipments look like, and make a personal decision on whether to buy the produce or not. This adds visibility and transparency to the process, and stops last mile rejections, where fruits and vegetables are rejected at the final hurdle.
  3. We track the root cause of rejections. Rejection is a part of life, and it’s also a part of working in agriculture. We can’t eliminate rejections altogether, but when it occurs – Clarifruit gives you the tools to delve into the reason why. By tracking the data of your shipment at each stage, you can work on your business model and use the data to fix mistakes and make smart changes.

It’s your data – you should be able to use it

The Clarifruit mobile app is just step one. All of the data that is collected by inspectors is centralized into a single management platform, the Clarifruit web app dashboard. From here, QC managers can search from anywhere in the world, track shipments and supply, and digest and understand the data that they are collecting, both historically and in real-time, adding business intelligence to decision making and strategy. Let’s see your filing cabinet do that, eh?

See how the mobile app works for yourself – you can get started for free, here.

The post Fresh Produce Quality Control: Legacy vs AI-Powered Solutions appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
Listen Up Retailers: It’s Time to Reduce Waste with Connected Front-Store Quality Control https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/retailers-reduce-waste-with-frontstore-quality-control/ Tue, 08 Feb 2022 08:47:05 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/state-of-the-fresh-produce-supply-chain-copy/ Retailers are receiving a lot of merchandise and obviously, the consumer will not buy everything. When we drill down into fresh produce specifically, around 12% of fruit and 11.5% of vegetables arrive at the grocery store and are never sold, which translates into a serious hit for retailers' bottom line. So how can technology help the savvy retailer get ahead?

The post Listen Up Retailers: It’s Time to Reduce Waste with Connected Front-Store Quality Control appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

The problem of food waste is a massive one, and while a lot of the issues start at the earliest points in the value chain — in the field and in-transit to warehouses, distribution centers and marketing companies — according to USDA, there is 31% waste at the retail and consumer end of the journey.

Retailers are receiving a lot of merchandise and obviously, the consumer will not buy everything. When we drill down into fresh produce specifically, around 12% of fruit and 11.5% of vegetables arrive at the grocery store and then are never sold. This translates into a serious hit to a retailer’s bottom line, plus a severe problem for the world’s limited resources. 

As an increasing number of grocery stores and supermarkets pledge zero-waste initiatives, how can technology help the savvy retailer get ahead?

What does the problem of waste look like in today’s stores?

No one likes to throw away fresh produce and over the past decade or more, we’ve seen an increasing number of in-store initiatives that attempt to encourage the consumer to take imperfect produce off the shelves. Campaigns for promoting “ugly” fruits and vegetables, food-recovery programs, or even innovative ideas like rerouting unsold produce into an onsite “smoothie bar” have had minimal impact overall.

To understand the problem, we need to think about the two different types of defects that are common in fruits and vegetables. While permanent defects like scratches or marks might have consumers reaching for the apple next door, ultimately buyers will still choose these items when they don’t have a choice, or if the discounted sticker price makes it worth their while.

In contrast, progressive defects like decay or open wounds will mean that the produce will never be bought, and worse still – these defects can quickly spread to the rest of the fruit in its vicinity. The same is true with overmature fruit. A single overmature piece of fruit will release ethylene, a ripening agent that speeds up the process of ripening for all the fruits nearby. This starts a domino effect on the whole pallet or box – and before you know it, the whole shipment is unsellable.

apples with defects

 

Adding a layer of smart technology to get visibility where it’s needed most

Once a retailer has agreed to a shipment from the distribution center, there isn’t a lot that can be done about dealing with the fresh produce. At this stage, there are no price renegotiations or rejections – it’s all about making the most of what you get. This means that retailers need to think fast about how to allocate the produce coming in to maximize the value of their stock. If a pallet of tomatoes comes in that’s moving faster than expected towards maturity, they need the ability to identify it and make sure it gets put directly in the front of the store, not moved into cold storage. These insights into shelf-life can be the difference between selling the whole shipment before a problem occurs, or throwing the whole delivery straight into landfill.

However, you can’t get away from the fact that front stores simply don’t have the same technical capabilities that back-end depots and distribution centers enjoy. While distribution centers have professional inspections at entry and exit, front stores are relatively small, and usually don’t even have professional QC inspectors working on site.

In recent years, technology has made a serious leap to fill this essential gap. Advanced AI technology can now be used from the comfort and ease of a mobile phone, allowing retailers to detect the specific problems of over maturity and progressive defects at the entrance to the front store. This allows decision-makers to implement corrective measures before it’s too late, deciding how to designate produce in real-time, and heavily reducing the amount of wasted fruits and vegetables. We’ve found that this can reduce roughly 10% of the waste that today’s retailers are currently experiencing.

Closing the QC loop

At Clarifruit, we augment this digitized quality control using a continuous testing concept, borrowed from the software industry, where developers perform quality assurance across the whole cycle of development multiple times. The earlier they can detect a problem, the less it costs to get it fixed. In a similar way, we test the same pallet or box of produce again and again, when it enters the distribution center, when it exits, and when it enters the front store. This chain allows stakeholders to spot issues early, and link the data from one location to the next, breaking down the traditional silos that have been synonymous with the fresh fruits and vegetables value chain until now, and saving serious revenues by isolating issues before it has become too late. 

Think about it. By the time a problem is detected at the retailer, all they can do is implement damage control. However, with this continuous testing concept, the data is automatically linked, allowing for improvements to processes to be made over time. Retailers can give feedback to the distribution centers and provide insight on which types of produce may have passed inspection on their own site but have since developed a problem by the time they arrived at the store. This data can establish and improve calibration over the inspections, and support distribution centers and retailers in reducing the amount of waste overall.

Interested in seeing 10% less waste in your own store? Request a free trial now!

The post Listen Up Retailers: It’s Time to Reduce Waste with Connected Front-Store Quality Control appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>
How will the Fresh Produce Supply Chain be Transformed in 2022? https://www.clarifruit.com/blog/state-of-the-fresh-produce-supply-chain/ Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:32:12 +0000 https://www.clarifruit.com/?p=2631 It’s been an amazing year at Clarifruit! As we start 2022, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the shift that we’ve seen in the fresh fruits and vegetable supply chain this year, and the trends that will continue to drive these changes in the upcoming months.

The post How will the Fresh Produce Supply Chain be Transformed in 2022? appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>

State of the Industry 2022: What’s the Story with the Transformation of the Fresh Produce Supply Chain?

It’s been an amazing year at Clarifruit! As we start 2022, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the shift that we’ve seen in the fresh fruits and vegetable supply chain this year, and the trends that will continue to drive these changes in the upcoming months.

40% of food is currently wasted from field to fork.

This is obviously not sustainable and needs to be addressed head on if governments are going to meet ambitious goals to halve food waste by 2030. There are a number of different reasons for the waste, but at Clarifruit we see one common denominator that comes up time and time again – quality mismatch.

What causes quality mismatch in today’s fresh produce?

Quality mismatch is a lose/lose scenario. For the seller, they don’t get the price that they want for a shipment of produce, and for the buyer – they don’t get the level of quality that they were expecting. No-one wins. 

To address this, we need to understand why it happens. There are two key reasons why quality mismatch occurs.

  1. Manual quality control processes: This means that each quality control check is subjective and inconsistent, leaving no constant way of understanding or communicating the real-world state of each shipment. Each arrival is a surprise and is open to negotiation, as both buyer and seller have their own opinions about worth and value.
  2. Lack of real-time information: Even if buyers and sellers could find a consistent and automated way to manage quality control and provide the same view to all stakeholders, this information needs to be available in real-time. Optimizing buying and selling requires quick decisions on shipment value and viability, alongside actionable insights and smart recommendations which often can’t be done by the human eye. 

 Historically, there was nothing that stakeholders could do. The QC offerings in the market simply didn’t offer compelling solutions for its players. Instead, electronic forms have traditionally been used to input data in a totally unstructured way by each inspector in their own silo.

Enter, the era of AI and Big Data

Today, a shift is happening in the market. The advent of AI, Big Data and the cloud, all available on everyday mobile devices, have been game-changers for solving the challenges of quality mismatch, and have allowed companies to automate existing QC processes through AI technology. This has provided both buyers and sellers with objective, consistent and much faster inspection processes for the first time.

When combined with the might of the cloud, stakeholders can now benefit from a Big Data platform that generates insights, such as the optimal matching of supply quality to customer specifications, or predicting likely shelf-life ahead of time. 

Proving the ROI in practice

At Clarifruit, this is not a theoretical exercise. Our company was established 4 years ago, and we’ve watched a tremendous shift in the industry towards the adoption of these technologies, particularly over the last 15 months. We offer our customers a 30-day free trial so they can see the ROI of our AI-powered QC-based platform, and make it simple for decision makers to make the solution a must-have budget item. 

As a result, we’ve seen initial adoption with some of the industry’s most innovative and recognizable brands, such as Dole Sunshine, Zespri, Pink Lady, Sanlucar, Gesex, and Migiva. Dole Sunshine has doubled inspector productivity, and is on track to reduce waste by 10%. The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture aims to make Israel the first country to digitize its quality control processes for fresh fruits and vegetables across the board. 

We can see other early adopters ready to take the plunge over the next 18 months. We’re also seeing the downstream segments of the market, specifically retailers using this technology for more than just supply chain standardization and reduction in waste. They are also benefiting by enhancing the management of quality specifications with their suppliers, reducing the shrink they currently experience in their distribution centers and at front-of-store.

This is just the start. As we continue to see the rolling impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing trend to all things sustainable and eco-friendly, the accelerated adoption of these technologies will result in a far more efficient supply chain, where quality is evaluated in a standardized way across the entire journey. This won’t be a ‘nice to have’, it will be an industry benchmark.

The result? 

Significant reduction in waste and rejections, and a more profitable supply chain for all stakeholders. We’ve moved from a lose/lose to a win/win!

Don’t just take our word for it – request a 30-day free trial here!

The post How will the Fresh Produce Supply Chain be Transformed in 2022? appeared first on Clarifruit.

]]>