State-of-the-art grading technology expected to boost cherry sales

New grading technology being adopted by Australian farmers will offer Coles’ customers higher
quality cherries over Christmas.
The new electronic graders, manufactured in Melbourne using Dutch technology, promise to
improve quality and consistency of cherries this season.
Coles product technologist for fresh produce, Anna Goodall, said the benefits of the new technology
would directly flow on to consumers and potentially lead to increased consumption.
“The new graders will result in a significant change in the quality of Australian cherries and this helps
us to increase consumption and, in turn, increase our orders from local growers.”
Ms Goodall said a number of Coles’ biggest cherry growers in Victoria and South Australia had
independently decided to buy the AirJet colour separation and size grading machines for this
One of Coles’ suppliers, Tatura grower Stuart Pickworth of Pickworth Orchards Pty Ltd, said his new
grading machine would help deliver a better quality product to customers.
“The grader is the way of the future. It will pick up bird pecks, splits or other defects and is also 95%
accurate in grading cherries for size. You can set the machine to take out watery fruit and if the
cherries are rain-affected or internally mushy, the grader can sort them.”
“Importantly, it can also sort for colour so you can get more consistency and visual appeal,” he said.
Mr Pickworth, who will produce up to 600 tonnes of cherries this season, said he expected to recoup
part of the investment cost through repeat sales and orders.
“The business confidence I have in dealing with Coles over a number of years gave me the
assurance to make the investment,” he said.
GP Graders director Ian Payne said up until recently, grading cherries involved mechanical
sizing and human sorting.
“The new electronic graders achieve uniform sizing, colour separation to take out the immature
paler fruit and defect detection such as rain splitting and bird damage.
“From a packer’s point of view, it takes out defects as well as soft fruit, which greatly reduces
reliance on manual grading. In makes for a much more efficient packing operation”.

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