Coöperatie Hoogstraten, one of the oldest fruit and vegetable auctions in Belgium attaches great importance to the traceability of its products throughout the chain, where food safety is playing a significant role. As the strawberries originate from some 200 strawberry growers, this process is logistically not easy to achieve.
The former plastic punnets filled with strawberries by the growers were equipped with a lasered code, but this code was not unique: one code applied to 1 200 pieces in a box or 30 000 pieces per pallet. The growers collected boxes with punnets which were scanned with a barcode scanner in order to link the codes to a grower. This way of working was time-consuming, labour-intensive and not watertight: the trays were not scanned, and the growers manually put the punnets in the strawberry boxes before they started the picking.
Given the increasingly growing pressure on plastic packaging, it was decided to switch to cardboard punnets. These punnets create opportunities on many levels, for example marketing campaigns or grower-specific prints, but this switch also implied that the entire traceability needed to be reconsidered. Coöperatie Hoogstraten therefore decided to abandon this error-prone process and to strongly invest in the automation of its logistics chain.
They engaged CXV Global for machine vision and our partner Aucxis for RFID technology to help them meet this challenge. The expertise of both parties in their own specialty enabled Coöperatie Hoogstraten, to quickly find an efficient solution.
This project is the first major step in optimising the traceability process. In the future, the QR codes on the trays will also be used to scan the full strawberry boxes. In this way, Coöperatie Hoogstraten have targeted information about the harvesting time of the strawberries and the location they went to.