Last month, the Japanese automatic fruit peeler innovator Astra celebrated its peeler being exported to 50 countries. Now the company is busy preparing to attend the Berlin Fruit Logistica, and is ready to meet visitors from more regions in the exhibition. The sales manager from Astra, Ryo Takeshita shared the story.
“A compact size makes it easier to shipping”
Non-stop innovation is rooted in Astra’s culture. 10+ people are working in Astra’s innovation team. They are consistently working on upgrading the peeler to an even more compact size, with advanced functions. Just a few months ago, the company launched its 3rd generation KA-750PM peeler, which is 10kg lighter than the previous model.
“There are two reasons why we found innovation in size to be so important. First, the majority of our peelers are sold overseas. A lighter machine means shipping costs can largely be reduced,” Ryo said. “Secondly, end-users always prefer a machine to be small and light, so that they can easily carry it to the sink and clean it with running water, or flexibly place the machine anywhere needed in the store.
Unexpected regions are scoring high in our top sales list
When talking about an automatic peeler, one may think it is only popular in developed countries where ready-cut fruits are commonly found in retail stores. However, Astra’s sales data confirmed that this is no longer the case. “Do not be too surprised, you will find many unexpected countries appearing in our top sales region list,” Ryo laughs, ‘And every region has its reasons for using an automatic peeler.
“Guatemala is placed 19th in global pineapple production. The country is famous for pineapple plantations, but what you may not know is that there are also many pineapple processing factories in Guatemala. These factories process tons of pineapples every day, and products are exported to the USA. Many factories purchased our peeler, because they want to reach higher productivity with a reduced labor cost.”
Vanuatu is another story. “There are many distilleries in Vanuatu, and lemon is popularly used for seasoning in these distilleries. I am not bragging but our automatic peeler soon became a ‘game changer’ in Vanuatu’s distillery industry,” Ryo said. “Factories often need the thin skin of a lemon. With labor it is always difficult to make the lemon skin of a consistent thickness. While our peeler is adjustable in peeling depth, clients only need to enter a setting, and the machine can do the rest of the work.
“Many may think labor costs in Africa are low, which might be true. But our clients from Africa use the peeler mainly because they want to reduce costs from product waste. We sold many units to the dehydrating mango factories in Uganda and Ghana, where they use the machine for peeling mangoes. Peeling by machine can reduce waste by 30% compared with manual peeling. Investing in an automatic peeler can help the company save a lot of money.”
Astra’s peeler can also be found in the Middle East. The company sold many units to clients in Israel, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. “Ready-to-eat fruits are commonly seen in these countries. Our clients use Astra peelers, as they like to have their product more competitive in the market with a better appearance, less dripping and a longer shelf-life. This enables them to sell the products at a higher price.”
We provide prompt after-sales service to every client
When asked about maintenance and after-sales service, Ryo said, “Though the working principle sounds complicated, the operation is actually very simple, and not much maintenance is needed. We rarely receive calls from clients who experience problems with our machines. But if they have any questions or need us to check something, we can easily check online. We also have several local distributors in each region. These distributors can also provide prompt support to clients whenever needed.”
Over the past 20 years, Astra has been fully dedicated to automatic peeler innovation. “Our peelers are certified with CE and NSF markings and are used in over 50 countries, in fresh-cut fruit factories, in-flight meals, schools, juice bars, luxury cruise ships and restaurants," Ryo said. As Astra Inc. expects booming opportunities in overseas markets, the company is now looking for distributors of industrial fruit processing machines in many areas.
Mr. Ryo Takeshita
Tel.: +81 0245412444