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“Factories invest in automatic peelers because of increased hygienic concerns”

Cut and ready-to-eat fruits are very popular in Japan. Large-sized supermarkets often have their own back kitchen for fruit processing. However, as their processing capacities cannot meet the market demand, parts of the products are supplied from downstream processing factories. With the general public’s increased attention for food safety, how to make processed fruit with high hygienic levels and better quality becomes a concern to many retailers and fruit processing factories.

Astra is an automatic fruit peeler innovator in Japan. The company has just sold multiple units to a pineapple processing factory in Fukushima. The sales manager from Astra, Ryo Takeshita, and the manager of the processing factory, Mr. Sakamoto shared the story of this sale.

“Outer skin of a pineapple is covered with a large number of bacteria”
“We peel 3,000-5,000 pineapples per day, and all our processed products are sold to a single supermarket brand. With the increasing demand from the market, we decided to enlarge our business with increased processing capacity.” Mr. Sakamoto said, “the supermarket which we supply products to introduced the Astra pineapple peeler to us. This supermarket has already placed an Astra peeler at the front desk, consumers who purchased pineapples can directly use the machine for peeling.”
Astra pineapple peeler

According to Mr. Sakamoto, in Japan, the fresh-cut fruit sector has strict hygienic rules to avoid food safety issues. “The tricky thing about pineapples is that the outer skin of pineapples is covered with a large number of bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and general bacteria. To avoid cross-contamination, we need to train the workers not to touch fruit meat and skin at the same time during peeling. But still, it is a very difficult and time-consuming task, until we started to use an automatic pineapple peeler.”Pineapples are in sterilizer sink before peeling process

Mr. Sakamoto then shared the general procedure for pineapple peeling, “A worker first dips the pineapple in a sink filled with sterilizer, then cuts off the top and bottom part of the fruit and sets it in the peeler. After the peeling process, a second worker will remove the peeled pineapple from the machine, and trim the remaining eyelets by hand when necessary. After that, a third worker packs the fruit for shipping. With a hygienic concern, each activity is performed by a different worker. The first worker touches the fruit skin, the second worker only deals with fruit meat.” Mr. Sakamoto, said, “especially with a higher processing capacity using the peeler, we can realize a streamlined operation, thus increasing our productivity and efficiency.”

Pineapples ready for peeling

Ryo thinks it is becoming a trend that factories generally invest in automatic processing machines because of their hygienic concerns. “Especially for pineapple, many bacteria are hidden in the eyelets. I know that many processing factories put pineapple inside a sterilization tank for a long time before processing. But this will affect the fruits’ taste and even their shelf life. An automatic peeler can simply solve this problem.”

Peeling with Astra peeler

Automatically processed fruits are desired by the retail sector
Besides meeting a higher hygienic standard and an increased capacity, Mr. Sakamoto is very happy with the various improvements brought by the newly installed peeler. “Our waste rate decreased by 10% after using the peeler. Before using the peeler, we have to train workers for a long time before they are able to peel the skin to the thinnest and leave the maximum amount of fruit meat. But now, we can set the program how deep we would like to peel, to minimize the product waste.” Mr. Sakamoto said, “you may not see the waste yield difference with one pineapple. But when we process 25,000 pineapples per month, the saved waste part is heavy enough to turn into our profit.”

“Our client supermarkets are also happy that we've started automatic peeling. KA-851 uses a blade peeling technique, which results in less juice dripping and thus results in a better appearance and longer shelf life. This helps the supermarket generate more sales, and now they are demanding more products from us.” Mr. Sakamoto said, “The automatic peeler makes not only us as a supplier, but also the receiving supermarket, more competitive in the market.”

Pineapple peeling factory

“We aim to advance the pineapple processing sector”
The KA-851 is a very small unit, with dimensions of 20*40*50cm and a weight of only 13kg. “Compact size is our unique advantage. For factories, workers can easily carry them to the sink for washing and cleaning. For retailers, it can be placed in a small spot next to the pineapple selling sector, or on the counter.”

KA-851 is already Astra’s third generation pineapple peeler. “Where people eat pineapple, there is a need for peeling. Now the sector is starting to realize that peeling is more of a task for machines, instead of manual labor. We are happy to see that more and more pineapple processing factories and supermarkets are using Astra peeler, and what makes us more excited is that many new clients are introduced by our existing clients. Just like Mr. Sakamoto ‘s story. This proves clients’ satisfaction with our peeler and service.” Ryo said.Various Astra peeling models

“Non-stop innovation is the key to our business. We have a whole innovation team brainstorming every day for a brilliant idea, and that is followed by countless times of testing, all to make one idea workable. Our innovation leads to a shortened return-on-investment for clients, helps them to reduce waste, increases their productivity and boosts their sales.”KA-851 can be used for different types of fruit

Besides pineapple, ASTRA peelers can also be used for mangos, melons, oranges, apples, kiwis and more.

For more information, please click here

Mr. Ryo Takeshita
Tel.: +81 0245412444
E-mail: [email protected]