TOMRA Fresh Food expands to New Zealand
TOMRA Fresh Food, one of TOMRA Food’s two business areas, is now operating from the company’s Field Research Centre in Waikato, New Zealand.
By bringing together business activities previously located in both Waikato and Auckland, all stages of the development cycle — from fruit science to designing and manufacturing food-grading solutions — are now in close proximity.
This initiative follows the recent creation by TOMRA Food of two discrete business areas, TOMRA Processed Food and TOMRA Fresh Food. It also integrates the expertise of Compac and BBC Technologies, two New Zealand-based businesses acquired by TOMRA in 2018, which are now part of the TOMRA Food brand.
This integration has made TOMRA’s Fresh Food business area the leading provider of post-harvest solutions and services to the global fresh produce industry, using the world’s most advanced grading technology. TOMRA provides innovative packhouse solutions for fresh produce such as apples, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, kiwifruit, cherries and blueberries.
An ideal climate for product development
The Waikato District, in New Zealand’s North Island, is at an intersection between subtropical and temperate climates. This makes the area unusually well-suited to a wide range of crops, including all kinds of berries, apples, potatoes, and cherries. The nearby Bay of Plenty region, blessed by the warming influence of the Pacific Ocean, is home to New Zealand’s largest plantings of avocados and kiwifruit. This rich agricultural diversity means that TOMRA is well-positioned here to build lasting relationships with a wide range of commercial partners.
The Field Research Centre is housed in a two-level, 5,100-square-meter building that can accommodate 280 employees. Some 3,300 square meters are dedicated to factory space, 1,800 square meters to offices and research and development. The building’s design includes collaborative spaces, with the potential to host like-minded enterprises to facilitate sharing information and the creation of ideas.
The Field Research Centre has a production design facility; cool storage; the facility for full test simulations of packing lines and testing new integrated solutions with these lines; space for engineering, electronics, software design, and fruit-science test laboratories; and the space for scale and growth for TOMRA’s research and development program.
The site also features two hectares for field research, to be developed as test orchards. By growing the same crops as its customers, TOMRA will build an even more intimate understanding of the challenges they must solve, from the field through to packhouse.
TOMRA’s Fresh Food business line has 17 global offices with manufacturing in New Zealand, Europe and China.