AGRO implements new technology to advance its services with a focus on sustainability.

A brand new heat seal machine went into operation in AGRO Merchants Westland in December. Heat seal, or top seal packaging, is a new trend in packaging and is considered significantly more sustainable than the traditional clamshell punnet packaging.

With this new technology, the punnets are sealed on the top, which reduces the waste up to 30% and helps to develop a more efficient flow within the supply chain. Apart from being more sustainable, this way of packaging is also aesthetically appealing, modern and easy to use, which is a great benefit to the customer.

Richard Bos, Operations Manager at AGRO Merchants Westland shared: “As a company, we are committed to accommodate our customers’ demands, and at the same time, we embrace innovative and sustainable solutions.”

“We worked closely with our suppliers to develop this technology specifically based on our requirements and we are really satisfied with the end result, as we believe our customers will be as well.”

AGRO Merchants Westland is also a specialist in fruit ripening. The process of ripening requires a very specific product expertise and equipment. AGRO’s site in Westland has dedicated ripening chambers, where the temperature, CO2 levels and air flow are carefully controlled, in order to achieve a precise stage of ripeness.

After the ripening process, produce is automatically sorted by specialized equipment which determines the condition and stage of ripeness of each individual piece of fruit, as well as any internal or external defects.

Sorting the ripened produce is essential to deliver a consistent product to the customer and the final consumer, as Richard Bos explained: “It used to be a big challenge in the industry, to import and transport fresh produce to shelves just in time and ready to eat. With this technology, we can achieve just the right stage of ripeness, therefore we reduce the risk of spoilage and ultimately, food waste.”

“We have recently doubled the capacity of our sorting machine, due to increased demand for both our ripening and sorting services.”

AGRO Merchants operates two facilities in the Rotterdam area – apart from the Westland facility, the company also operates a quayside facility in the port of Rotterdam, which is specialized in bananas, pineapples and product shipped by conventional vessels. Thanks to its prime location, produce can be unloaded directly from the vessel into the cold store.