IMG Citrus Invests in Packinghouse

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release, Technology

IMG Citrus packinghouse production line

IMG Citrus, a family-owned, vertically integrated citrus grower, packer and shipper in Vero Beach, Florida, has invested $1.5 million into its packinghouse processing line. The company added a state-of-the-art electronic fruit grader, the Global Scan 7, manufactured in France.

The new sorter has the ability to precisely capture 120 images per fruit and up to 120 fruit per second in high definition. At a processing speed of 7,200 fruit per minute, the Global Scan 7 has the capability to process a total of 864,000 pictures per minute. It then analyzes the images against specific criteria such as percentage of blemish, weight, color, shape and density to achieve 99 percent accuracy.

“Our customers will greatly benefit from this technology because of much better consistency from carton to carton and from fruit to fruit,” says Michel Sallin, IMG Citrus president.

Based on how the product compares to the set criteria, it is routed to respective marketplaces. The sorter will improve the overall quality of fruit through the identification and elimination of late blooms, which are not as sweet or juicy, as well as greening fruit.

“In a greening environment, it is important to protect the superior taste of Florida grapefruit and eliminate the few outliers,” says Sallin. “To be successful in the fresh business, each piece of fruit needs to bring happiness to our consumers.”

IMG Citrus recently acquired Emerald Grove in Saint Lucie County, renamed Happy Food Grove after its consumer brand. This acquisition makes IMG Citrus one of the largest growers of Florida grapefruit.

“We are excited to bring the latest technology in packinghouse equipment into our facilities,” said Todd Haffield, packinghouse director at IMG Citrus. “We believe in the future of Florida citrus, and our investment in the Global Scan 7 shows just that.”

The increased precision of fruit grading is critical to IMG Citrus’ ability to fully understand crop characteristics in order to enhance decision making and crop management. The Global Scan 7 also adds efficiency to the packing process while simultaneously decreasing cost. IMG Citrus has learned that internal quality of grapefruit is better measured with density, color, and shape than with a Brix sensor, allowing the elimination of late blooms and greening fruit.

The addition of the Global Scan 7 will increase long-term value for IMG Citrus’ stakeholders. With the introduction of this new technology, IMG Citrus can ensure a product with the consistent taste attributed to Florida citrus, fruit after fruit.

Source: IMG Citrus