TOMRA Food has published an eBook to help nut processors tackle underlying operational challenges, which are now intensifying because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new 15-page publication, downloadable free-of-charge from TOMRA Food’s website, spotlights how some nut processing challenges are longstanding but others are new and unprecedented. Not least, market trends and climate change threaten to shake-up the industry. 

The eBook explains why the global demand for nuts is booming and how this is putting processors under pressure to achieve higher throughputs. The eBook also looks at how processors, in apparent contradiction to their need for speed, are also expected to raise product quality because of the heightened expectations of consumers and retailers.  

This shift towards higher quality specifications is at the heart of another conflict of objectives: processors are simultaneously expected to contain costs, particularly now that global economies are affected by the pandemic. And in yet another conflict, labor, water and energy are all becoming more expensive.

Labor and water are also becoming increasingly scarce. As workers in developing nations find themselves with more options, many become unreliable or opt out of manual labor jobs. And as climate change alters rainfall patterns and water availability, growing and harvesting seasons are disrupted in ways which require processors to operate with more agility.

A further challenge is food safety standards. Always vital, these are now under even greater scrutiny because consumers are increasingly aware of allergens, pathogen, and aflatoxins—and of their power, through social media platforms, to broadcast any dissatisfaction with product standards.

These challenges are remarkable for their breadth, but so too are the capabilities of sorting machines. As the eBook observes in its concluding section, state-of-the-art sorting technologies can now do more than detect and remove unwanted materials from processing lines. Sorting machines also reduce labor dependency, reduce water usage, minimize food waste to maximize yields, enable traceability, and help processors optimize productivity and profits.

Many of the challenges faced by nut processors can be answered with technology, and those processors who invest in state-of-the-art solutions can gain a competitive advantage.

  • Download TOMRA Food’s eBook – ‘The Challenges Nut Processors Face and the Solutions’ here