Bühler’s SORTEX FA series assists in management of increased product demand for Fine Foods

Bühler's SORTEX FA series assists in management of increased product demand for Fine Foods

As a knock-on effect of the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown, consumer demand for shelf-stable foods including frozen fruit and vegetables has reportedly soared. One company that reports successful management of its increased product demand is leading European frozen food producer, Fine Food.

The family-owned company based in Turkey has not ceased production or indeed any of its global export operations for a single day so far. The company attributes this resilience to the technological edge that it retains over its competitors: “We are the only business with Bühler’s SORTEX FA series machines in Turkey and we believe that puts us in a very strong position in the market,” said Mehmet Berk Goztepe, export sales representative at Fine Food.

Established in 1994, Fine Food has over 200 employees working across three factories in the Marmara region of Turkey; a new facility dedicated exclusively to the production of frozen French fries is currently under construction in the Emirdağ district. The company has a portfolio of approximately 20 individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit and vegetable products, 12 of which are vegetables that are either grown and harvested on Fine Food’s own lands, or by contract farmers around the Yenişehir and Bursa provinces. A total of 70-80 million kilograms of sweetcorn, green beans, peas, spinach, strawberries and cherries are processed by the company every year.

Fine Food upholds a strong family-focused ethos with members of the Goztepe family educated and exposed to all aspects of the business from a young age. Yet while the company may be traditional in its values, it believes it is ahead of the curve when it comes to flexibility, with urgent orders able to be processed in just one day. Such flexibility is reportedly made possible by Fine Food’s use of the latest technologies.

Goztepe states: “With 11 sorters in total, our sorter infrastructure is far more advanced than others, something that not many Turkish processors can say.” One of the major contributors to Fine Food’s advanced sorting infrastructure is its trusted manufacturing partner Bühler, who supplies the majority of the sorters for the company’s IQF products.

Fine Food began its relationship with Bühler by adding the SORTEX E1D optical sorting machines to its portfolio. With the E1D machines, Fine Food is able to take advantage of high-resolution cameras and proprietary detection technologies to ensure maximum food safety. The E1D’s double-sided detection of colour, shape and size enables quick and easy removal of subtle to gross colour defects, insect damage, blemishes and foreign materials (FM) such as glass, plastic and stones.

Following the ‘exceptional’ performance and stability of the E1D machines, Fine Food decided to invest in Bühler’s latest technology to meet its growing IQF product capacity needs. With the SORTEX FA2 machine’s FDA-approved adjustable 1200-mm chute, Fine Food reports that it is now able to process double the amount of product than before: 14 tonnes per hour. Goztepe notes: “In addition to the higher capacity with the FA2, I also like the improvement of the LED lighting functionality.

“The lights stay bright throughout their entire lifecycle meaning there is no worry about having to frequently replace them.”

Bühler’s FA2 machines are specially designed to meet stringent Western Europe and USA product safety requirements. Thus with 70% of Fine Food’s products exported to international markets including Europe, North America, the Balkans, the Middle East and East Asia, the company says it trusts that its buyers’ needs will be satisfied and that a superior quality and consistent final product will be delivered.

Cleaning the FA2 machines is reportedly easy due to the open and accessible design of the stainless steel frame and sloped surfaces. With virtually no product build-up, there is a very low risk of contamination.

In addition, the FA2 machines are equipped with Bühler’s renowned SORTEX PolarVision detection system, which combines two pioneering technologies for unmatched FM removal: PolarCam technology and high definition InGaAs cameras. Goztepe says: “The SORTEX PolarVision technology came as a huge advantage for us for FM removal, particularly in the case of snails.

“It has also proved very useful in detecting any extraneous vegetable matter (EVM) and color differences. We now eagerly await the upcoming wet season this year as that is when we expect to find the most EVM in peas, so we’ll be able to see the full strength of the SORTEX PolarVision technology!”

Gurhan Nergizoglu, sales manager for Bühler’s local Turkish sales agent Atomika, states: “One of the main reasons Fine Food opted for the FA2 was to be able to detect and remove any snails, black plastics and FM, for this reason our SORTEX PolarVision technology really appealed to them.

“They needed to ensure the best quality within their national and export markets.” Goztepe adds, “With Atomika everything runs quickly and smoothly, we never have any issues. Personally and ethically we really enjoy working with them.”

For more information about Bühler’s SORTEX FA series, click here.

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