The French company Areco is developing systems that help improve the preservation of fresh produce on the shelves, in order to reduce food waste. “We have a range of solutions meeting the needs of almost all fruits and vegetables.” explains Aurianne Natoli, marketing and communication representative.
Since 1998, Areco has been working on nebulization. “This technology is intended for products that require humidity to keep their freshness. These are, for example, leafy vegetables such as salads, radish tops, carrots tops and cabbage. The system helps refresh the air around the products thanks to the nebulization principle, which brings 95% air and 5% water. This extends their shelf life and makes the supermarket aisles more attractive for the consumer,” explains Aurianne.
For products that do not need this humidity, like the ratatouille range or summer fruits, Areco has developed a contact cold solution by placing the products on a refrigerated plate in the stores.
Refrigerated display nebulized by Areco. Depending on the products, the shelves are equipped with different technologies.
Nebulization for leafy vegetables
Fresh herbs module
Refrigerated plates for vegetables
Carlos Briones, export manager, explains that Areco is developing strongly worldwide. “Our revenue comes mainly from the French market, where we have been active for years, but we invest a lot in export. We created branches in Australia and North America. On the other foreign markets, we work directly with supermarkets, like EDEKA for example in Germany.”
Australia is ahead
Australia represents an important market for Areco. There, the company works intensively with the Woolworths supermarket chain, among others. It has equipped the fruit and vegetable shelves of nearly 470 of the 1,000 Woolworths stores. Carlos explains this success.
“In Australia, anything related to ‘healthy eating’ is promoted, especially for fresh produce. Australians are also highly motivated to eliminate waste. Compared to Europeans, they are ahead. In Europe, the subject is on the table, but the budget is not always available. In Australia, the means are already in place.” According to Carlos, Western Europe will soon follow. “We’ve already equipped stores in the Netherlands.”
Example of nebulization of a refrigerated display
Island and refrigerated display
Carlos points out that there are three aspects which make the Areco technology unique. “First, we are the only company in the industry that has the technology to remotely manage all the facilities we have in the world. This allows us to solve most of our technical problems from France. A second important aspect is that, contrary to other actors of the market, we do not use any chemical products to clean our machines. Instead, we developed ‘Thermosure’, a natural disinfection system which we have patented. During the night and for about forty minutes, the machines are cleaned using only hot water. The absence of chemical products improves food safety.”
According to Carlos, the fact that the machines are personalized for each client represents a third important difference with the competitors. “Our products can be installed on all sorts of furniture, new or already existing ones, from a neutral shelf to a refrigerated display. Before installing the system, we take a close look at the specific needs of our client and its products. In the end, our sales representatives essentially give advice. We also offer maintenance contracts and a lifetime warranty. This gives our clients confidence in the equipment.”
Each year, 10% of Areco’s revenue goes to research. As a result, the company recently presented different digital solutions that could help increase sales, like publishing Addachef recipes. Final consumers would be able to print recipes directly in the stores.
Aurianne explains why this solution helps increase sales. “Consumers are not necessarily familiar with all the products on sale. Take for example the older vegetables. If consumers do not know them, they will not buy them. With Addachef, we aim to develop final consumers’ knowledge and to boost sales. We offer this solution essentially for products with high added value for the stores, like the older vegetables or exotic products. In the future, consumers will be able to send recipes directly to their email address, without having to print them.”
Besides the fruit and vegetable aisles, Areco also offers solutions for fish, cheese and meat products.