Smart ripening technology gaining ground in Europe

Companies are increasingly investing in smart ripening technology. There is now also an upgraded Softripe-Frigotec 3.0 version. "It further improves quality and the ripening process, giving the fruit a more natural shelf life," says the company's managing director Roland Wirth.

This technology, first patented in Brazil/Germany, allows for the fully controlled, stress-free ripening of fruit. Softripe results in improved taste, quality, and shelf life, which, in turn, reduces food waste. "You can also save considerably on power because the ripening process is faster and better controlled."

Softripe is especially suited to ripening tropical and exotic fruit: those that come from far-off destinations to Europe. The fruit is harvested unripe and then has to survive a long transit at sea. They are refrigerated to suppress the ripening process for as long as possible. "This smart technology is particularly interesting for ripening avocados. Here, quality and food waste are important concerns," explains Roland.

Mangoes, too, are being ripened with Softripe. "There are also definite opportunities for kiwis, stone fruit, pears, and persimmons. The Softripe technology creates a completely safe, uniform, constant environment for the fruit, letting each variety ripen to reach its optimal quality. Users can therefore supply their customers with perfectly ripened fruit that also lasts much longer."

Learning from experience
Softripe technology is based on Artificial intelligence or AI, in which learning from experience is central. By having a computer process large amounts of data and discover patterns (algorithms), you can train it to perform specific tasks. That this ripening method is truly innovative is proven by the awards it has garnered. Frigotec won the Silver Innovation Award at Fruit Logistica 2019, the Cooling Industry Award in 2020, and was Highly commended at the World Refrigeration Day Cold Chain Innovation Awards that same year.

After a successful introduction, Softripe now presents its 3.0 version. Roland is pleased with the upgrade. "After years of quite complicated development, we can now offer our customers this new version. The fully automatic ripening process and, thus, the fruit's quality has been further improved. It gives the fruit a more natural shelf life," he remarks.

Roland says Softripe has truly revolutionized the ripening process. The fruit ripens in such a way as to add value to each chain step. Softripe ripening technology has been successfully introduced in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Sweden, and developments continue. More and more players are investing in this smart ripening technology. "We're now ready to offer the patented technology in North America and Asia. We have good expectations, given all the positive feedback and market experiences from users, supermarkets, and consumers," he concludes.

Roland Wirth
Frigotec GmbH 

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