TOMRA CEO spotlights how food sorting and grading technologies reduce food waste and improve sustainability


Fruit Logistica Berlin has been chosen as the platform to discuss TOMRA Food’s capabilities and future aspirations.

More than 30 journalists from all over the globe and an international crowd of industry professionals attended TOMRA Food’s press event at Fruit Logistica Berlin (Berlin Messe, 6-8 February), the leading global trade fair for the fresh fruit and vegetable business. The three-day, annual event attracts almost 80,000 visitors from more than 130 countries.

Stefan Ranstrand, TOMRA’s President and Chief Executive Officer, chose this occasion to give a speech on TOMRA Food’s exhibition stand about the company’s unique offering, values, and future aspirations. At the heart of his talk was the message that TOMRA can contribute to global sustainability by helping to reduce food waste, at the same time as enhancing the technical and economic performance of food producers.

Biggest ambition to cut food waste

“One of our big aspirations for the future is to help our customers even more to reduce food waste and improve yields,” Ranstrand said. “We are in a world with an ever-growing population, expected to increase up to 10 billion people by 2050, and will have to produce 70% more food than we do today. Today we waste between 35% and 50% of all the food we currently produce, and that’s something we must address. We would like to see our technologies help bring much more food to the table.”

Ranstrand identified TOMRA’s two other aspirations as “being a long-term, trusted business partner” for our customers and “continuing to invest in game-changing technology.”

Talking further about customer relationships, Ranstrand cited how fruit picking-and-sorting seasons can be very short, demanding a huge amount of work to be accomplished quickly without unplanned downtime. This is why he believes the key to TOMRA’s success is working closely with customers as partners. “The most important thing is to understand the customer and give them full value, not only in sorting accuracy, but also to make sure the machine runs all the time and always delivers top performance.”

On the subject of investing in technology, Mr. Ranstrand commented that digitalization will be of utmost importance. “With inspection technologies we can look at food on the outside and the inside, and the question is how we use that data to benefit food producers and consumers.”

Data gathered during automated food inspecting and sorting is likely to be used in the future to improve farming efficiencies and the quality of products reaching consumers. Data will also give consumers the information they increasingly desire. Knowing details such as the food’s provenance, sugar composition, and the supplier’s sustainability credentials, will all help consumers make informed choices.

Technical leadership, food trust, and digital transformation

TOMRA’s exhibition stand at Fruit Logistica Berlin highlighted TOMRA Food’s three pillars: technical leadership, food trust, and digital transformation.

Through technical leadership TOMRA enables fruit, vegetable and potato producers (amongst others) to improve accuracy, efficiency and yields. To help brands establish food trust and safeguard their reputations, TOMRA enables food producers to ensure high standards in food quality, hygiene, and traceability. And through digital transformation, data analytics are optimising machine efficiency, reducing operational costs and assisting food traceability.

Ranstrand explained, “By pioneering the design and manufacturing of sorters and graders of many different types and sizes, TOMRA offers technical solutions not found elsewhere. Our ability to combine different sorting technologies – colour cameras, near infra-red (NIR), spectroscopy and laser-detection – makes a difference.” The result of this unrivalled technical sophistication is that produce is accurately graded and safety-assured at the same time as reducing waste.

Innovating from a position of strength

TOMRA Food is the biggest provider of sorting and grading solutions to the food sector, with more than 8,000 units running in 80 countries. TOMRA has grown at the rate of 14% per year in the last five years, with acquisitions in the food sector further increasing the company’s international reach and financial strength. In the ten years since Ranstrand joined the company, he has led TOMRA on a transformational journey, turning a collection of entities into one strong, unified brand and making the group the world-leader in reverse vending technology and sensor-based sorting solutions for the food, recycling and mining industries.

In this year’s prestigious European CEO Awards, whose winners were announced last month, Ranstrand was named, “best CEO in the sustainable resource management industry”.

About TOMRA Food

TOMRA Food designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions for the food industry, using the world’s most advanced grading, sorting, peeling and analytical technology. Over 8,000 units are installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world for fruits, nuts, vegetables, potato products, grains and seeds, dried fruit, meat and seafood. The company’s mission is to enable its customers to improve returns, gain operational efficiencies, and ensure a safe food supply via smart, useable technologies. To achieve this, TOMRA Food operates centres of excellence, regional offices and manufacturing locations within the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

TOMRA Food is a member of the TOMRA Group that was founded on innovation in 1972, beginning with the design, manufacturing and sale of reverse vending machines (RVMs) for automated collection of used beverage containers. Today, TOMRA has 95,700 installations in over 80 markets worldwide and had total revenues of 7.4 billion NOK in 2017. The Group employs 3,420 people globally, and is publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE: TOM). The TOMRA Group continues to innovate and provide cutting-edge solutions for optimal resource productivity within two main business areas: Collection Solutions (reverse vending and material recovery) and Sorting Solutions (recycling, mining and food sorting).

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