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Orange prices increased in the Brazilian in natura market in the first fortnight of February. According to Cepea collaborators, frequent rains in the citrus belt (São Paulo State) favoured the quality (majorly the size) of oranges, making them suitable for sale in the in natura segment and allowing farmers to raise asking prices. Besides, rainfall also hampered the harvesting, limiting supply. In that scenario, values remained firm.

Usually, orange availability is not high in February – a month that may even be considered offseason –, however, as the 2021/22 season is late, supply is currently higher. Still, there is not an orange surplus in the domestic market, since processing at industries has been faster than usual this month.

So far, the number of early varieties to be harvested is not high – activities are expected to step up only from March onwards. However, supply may be constrained by the low flower set in the first blooming. Thus, the oranges currently available in the in natura market are mostly late varieties and pear oranges out of the ideal period.

TAHITI LIME – The production of tahiti lime is also being favoured by rains, however, farmers reported difficulties to harvest the fruits, which underpinned prices in the first fortnight of February, although it is currently the peak of harvest for tahiti lime in Brazil.

Despite the recent valuations for oranges and tahiti lime, Cepea collaborators have reported that the current economic scenario in Brazil is still constraining higher price rises. With high unemployment and inflation rates and lower income, the purchase power of many consumers is weak.

ESTIMATES – Although rains have favoured the quality of part of the fruits in orchards, they have not been enough to reverse all the damages caused by the drought to the oranges from the 2021/22 season.

According to data from Fundecitrus released on Feb. 10, the orange output (São Paulo + Triângulo Mineiro) in the 2021/22 season is still estimated at 264.14 million boxes of 40.8 kilograms, the same as that estimated in December, but 10 % below that forecast at the beginning of the season.

According to Somar/Climatempo (weather forecast agency), rainfall in SP between May/21 and Jan/22 was 25 % below the average for the period. In the Triângulo Mineiro, rains were 5 % higher than the average. Thus, orange growth was hampered, and the average fruit weight decreased. However, it is important to consider that the oranges harvested in February and in March 2022 are expected to be slightly larger, since they have been favoured by recent rains.

The volume harvested is still enough to replenish ending stocks at the processing plants in SP. According to CitrusBR, by the end of the 2021/22 season (in June 2022), the volume of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (Equivalent) stocked is expected to total 170 – 190 thousand tons, lower than the strategic level (250 thousand tons). It is important to consider that new estimates are supposed to be released until the end of February.

In this scenario, the harvest in 2022/23 needs to be large enough to raise stocks at least to the strategic level and thus prevent a world shortage of orange juice. Cepea calculations show that the orange output next season needs to total, at least, 330 million boxes in order to raise juice stocks to 250 thousand tons.

PROGRESS OF THE 2021/22 HARVESTING – According to Fundecitrus’ report, 82 % of the orange orchards had been harvested by mid-January/22, similar to that in the same period last season (81 %).

VOG Products: 2021 harvest promises top organic qualitySponsored Post – The fruit processing company VOG Products is the world’s largest producer of organic apple juice, concentrate and purée at one location. This year’s harvest in South Tyrol and Trentino provides outstanding conditions for premium quality and high-value products.

The Trentino-South Tyrol region on the southern side of the Alps looks back at a long tradition of fruit cultivation. With 300 sunny days per year and cool nights, the climate there is ideal. This is reflected in the taste and aroma of the fruit that VOG Products processes and refines.

2021 has proven to be an excellent year for apple quality in South Tyrol and Trentino. The weather conditions are currently optimal for the harvest. During the day, the sun shines down on the apple fields and the cool nights ensure that the colour will be intense. The Gala apples harvested this year are a brilliant red colour that is seldom seen – even the apples from areas where colouring does not easily develop are bright red.

VOG Products, the modern fruit processing company headquartered in Laives, belongs to 4 producers’ organisations from South Tyrol and Trentino and 18 cooperatives from South Tyrol with more than 10,000 members. Most of them are small family operations that care for their apple orchards with love and devotion.

Pioneer in Europe

VOG Products: 2021 harvest promises top organic quality
Martin Bristot (Photo: VOG Products)

Agriculture is acknowledged for its great importance throughout the region. After all, dealing with land and its resources respectfully is firmly embedded in the culture there. In this spirit, sustainable production is a matter of course for local fruit growers, many of whom have embraced organic cultivation. “Biosüdtirol and Bio Vinschgau have now become the largest organic producers in Europe,” explained Senior Key Account Manager Martin Bristot, who is responsible for the organic sector at VOG Products.

Organic apples now make up around 10 % of the total harvest in South Tyrol. Despite frosty nights in the spring, the official harvest forecasts indicate that the organic proportion in South Tyrol will remain constant in 2021. As compared to the previous year, in Trentino organically cultivated apples should record growth of around 20 %.

The figures show a trend: in three years, the quantity of organic raw goods delivered to VOG Products has more than trebled. As a result, the fruit processing company from Laives is now the world’s largest producer of organic apple juice, concentrate and purée at one location. VOG Products continues to source its organic goods exclusively from its members’ members: the around 10,000 farmers from the growing area.

Bioland: a guarantee of quality

Top conditions at the location, tightly meshed quality control and traceability back to the farmers are particularly valuable in the organic sector. But VOG Products goes a step farther. “VOG Products is Bioland-certified or rather, a portion of our suppliers provide Bioland goods,” said Bristot. The seal has more stringent guidelines than those laid down in the EU regulation on organic production. “In Germany, the most important market for apple juice, the organic niche is growing: the quantities demanded are increasing significantly,” Bristot added.

“In combination with South Tyrol as the region of origin, these quality aspects are important for many purchasers and during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have become even more important.”

Renowned companies in food retailing have also recognised the potential and are jumping onto the organic bandwagon. “They aim to convert a certain percentage of their assortment from conventional to organic. We are primarily observing the trend in Germany, but France, Austria and the Scandinavian countries are all following suit,” explained Bristot. “That is giving the saleable quantities of direct apple juice an enormous boost.” But in the affluent exotic markets in Asia and the US as well, consumers are very aware of organic quality.

New distribution partnership brings nanobubble technology to farms in Chile & Peru

Moleaer, the world’s leading nanobubble technology company, is expanding into Latin America, having formed a new distribution partnership with Kapicua to bring its innovative, patented technology to the region’s agriculture industry. 

Nanobubbles, 2500 times smaller than a grain of salt, enhance agricultural productivity by providing a multitude of benefits that range from improving water quality, creating a healthier root zone and increasing crop yield. Healthy roots promote healthy plant growth, enabling plants to better handle environmental stress.

Kapicua has been trialling Moleaer’s nanobubble technology since 2019 in Chilean agriculture, focused on blueberry crops. These trials have proven that injecting billions of nanobubbles into the plant watering system increases crop growth and agricultural profitability. Now, Moleaer’s nanobubble technology will be widely available for farmers throughout the region.

Benjamin Labbe, Agricultural Engineer, Kapicua said: “We’re proud to partner with a sustainably-focused technology company that is committed to providing world-class solutions to increase productivity for farmers. Through our partnership, we’re increasing access for farmers in Latin America to nanobubble technology. Moleaer’s nanobubbles will provide farmers with a cost-effective, chemical-free solution to improve crop growth and decrease time-to-harvest rates.”

Cristian Gwinner, Fruit Area Manager, Elemental Foods said: “Since implementing Moleaer’s nanobubble generator, we’ve observed an increase in oxygen levels in our irrigation water. Last season we saw an 11 percent increase in fruit size and overall quality of our blueberries by using oxygen nanobubbles to improve water quality. Our plants have had much better vegetative growth, with improved vigor that has produced better fruit size.”

Nick Dyner, CEO, Moleaer, said: “Farmers throughout North America and Europe have already seen an improvement in water quality, root development and increased productivity after using our nanobubble technology within their irrigation systems. We’re excited to now bring our patented technology to Latin American farmers through our commercial partnership with Kapicua.”

Moleaer’s nanobubble generators have already been installed in over 75 greenhouses across North America and Europe improving plant health and harvest yields across a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Euromed, a leading producer of standardised herbal extracts, has appointed Xavier Ragàs as new Head of Quality Control. Xavier has a PhD in Chemistry, covering organic and analytical chemistry, photochemistry and microbiology.

After finishing his degree in 2010, Xavier began working as a lab technician at Bunge, an international agribusiness and food company. Having been promoted to the position of Quality and Food Safety Manager, he was responsible for implementing new analytical techniques, supervising internal laboratories and monitoring and adapting plant processes, in line with ISO standards and feed safety certifications.

In 2015, Xavier joined Morchem, an adhesive producer mainly focused on flexible packaging. As Quality Manager, he led the quality control department in its transition from an old ERP to a brand new SAP system.

In his new role as Head of Quality Control at Euromed, Xavier is responsible for quality and process control from the raw materials to the finished products. Euromed products begin with botanicals that are verified, grown and harvested properly to preserve plant integrity and bioactive profiles. Each production batch – from the herb to the final extract – undergoes several laboratory tests for identity, potency and potential impurities to guarantee the highest standards. From botanical macro- and micro-identification and control of active principles and potential impurities to chromatographic analyses, the company tests botanical raw materials exhaustively, in accordance with international regulations.

Cloudy Apple Juice: Influence of Raw Material, Processing and Storage

Cloudy apple juice is one of the most popular juices consumed. As the nature and stability of the cloud particles are an important quality feature for the consumer this review considers the composition of those particles and the various factors that influence the cloudy nature of the juice which should help manufacturers obtain consistent appealing products. In order to maintain the natural reputation of juices with the use of additives to control cloud stability this document provides an important scientific reference for the physical steps that can be taken.

This document has been published and is available via the IFU website under the heading Best Practice & e-learning.

What started out small 40 years ago today has in the meantime grown significantly – and has long since developed into one of the world’s leading manufacturer of innovative checking, inspection, rejection and labelling systems for a continuous in-line quality assurance when filling and packaging beverages, food and pharmaceuticals: HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH was founded on 1 April 1979!

Bernhard Heuft started the company back then in Burgbrohl in the Volcanic Eifel (Germany) with just twelve skilled people he knew. The fact that the strength of his highly motivated team has increased a hundredfold over the past 40 years to over 1,200 employees worldwide impressively illustrates that this was the right decision at that time for putting the young family business on the road to sustainable success.

In fact in the truest sense: HEUFT received the first patent for a truly ingenious invention by the company founder which still defines the state of the art today regarding the accurate upright high-speed rejection of faulty empty and full containers – the HEUFT DELTA-FW multi-segment flow rejector.

Over 500 further patents have been added since then – and therefore genuine unique technological features which not only optimise in-line quality assurance when filling and packaging beverages, food and pharmaceuticals sustainably but also the efficiency of complete lines.

From the first optical fill level detection to the fill management system with multi-processing capabilities, from the first empty bottle inspector in an efficient straight-through system to the all-surface empty container inspection on less than one square metre of floor space, from the unique pulsed X-rays to the company’s own real-time image processing system, from clean labelling to the precise marking inspection, from the harmonious conveyor control system to the comprehensive line analysis: a wide range of innovative technologies from the modular HEUFT system has been setting the standards for efficient in-line quality assurance for 40 years.

Basic research and the development of solutions not only focused on maximum automation during precise product tracking, reliable fault detection and specific fault rejection but also consistent user support from the start. In this way HEUFT introduced the very first systems with a monitor into the bottling hall for a simply better overview. The company’s own graphical user interface was soon to follow, then the audiovisual HEUFT NaVi user guidance and most recently even real voice control for full operational reliability and productivity.

It is not only innovative striving forward with countless technological pioneering achievements over the past 40 years which has set the medium-sized family business on a sustainable course for success but also the resulting continuous growth regarding company premises, international sales and service locations as well as competent employees i.e. in research and development, production, project planning and support.

Students and alumni of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) have designed and produced a biodegradable plastic packaging that reveals the quality of the food. The product, called Plasticor, changes its color when the content is not suitable for consumption. Developed about a year ago, in the Xerém campus labs, the student-developed bioplastic is a sustainable option to avoid food waste.

Every year, of all food produced on the planet, 30 % (or 1.3 billion tons) goes to trash, according to the United Nations. The color change would be a way of better managing food consumption, by giving preference to those whose expiration is closer, plus ensuring the reliability of expired foods that can still be consumed safely.

“The environmental impact is also reduced since the use of plastic materials has been abundant in the food industry in the last decades. Our packaging is ecofriendly because it doesn’t use chemical additives and doesn’t take years to degrade”, explains João Vítor Balbino, a Biophysics student and one of the seven members of the startup. Whilecommon plastics can take up to five centuries to degrade, students estimate that Plasticor degrades in six months.

The team is multidisciplinary and involves undergraduate students from Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Biophysics and Marketing courses, a doctoral student of Polymer Science and Technology, and a designer, all from UFRJ. The project is funded by its own creators, who are seeking possible investors. Those interested in helping can participate in the collective financing created by the team, contributing with any amount above R$ 10.

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Increased quality and a greater focus on digitisation in factories are two key trends identified in a recent global survey of 120 decision-makers in the international food and beverage industry.

The research, carried out by food and drink IT specialist CSB-System, revealed that respondents were optimistic about future prospects, expecting the economic situation for their businesses to pick up in the years to come. As part of this, half of them specified quality, freshness and innovations as key drivers in defining product leadership.

Although quality is seen as the biggest driver for success, two thirds of decision makers highlighted prices as the most significant challenge, with many sectors affected by high raw material prices, which are difficult to pass onto the trade or end-consumer.

Legal requirements in terms of food safety, labelling and traceability were also an area of concern, the most recent example at EU level being the regulation on the provision of food information to consumers and the mandatory nutrition declaration. Another important consideration is the requirement among retailers for permanent product availability and prompt response times.

In these circumstances, respondents identified three business areas in particular where there was greatest potential for improvement – sales and marketing, production and intralogistics and information technology. In particular, enhanced IT systems were seen as critical in helping to reduce costs, effectively manage complex operations and improve overall responsiveness.

Looking to the future, the decision makers forecast an increasing focus on both value and sustainability in the food sector. As well as mass market products, high-price segments would also gain in importance, with the combination of cutting-edge technologies and traditional crafts allowing the introduction of a new generation of quality foods elaborately prepared and manufactured.

Hermann Schalk, head of sales at CSB-System, says this trend, together with the need to focus on costs, will lead to the growing importance of effective IT.
“We still expect the downward pressure on prices to persist, therefore cost reductions are necessary,” he explains. “This must not adversely affect product quality, which is not necessarily the case. Our experience is that there is plenty of optimisation potential in the processes, mainly through digitisation.”

The full study can be downloads at