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Industry Information » Industrial processing of fruit big market
  “In global terms, the market for fresh-cut fruit is small. Apart from the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom, there aren’t that many countries where the market is growing so fast. Industrial processing of fruit is far bigger,” Niels Van Laer of FAM, a Belgian company specializing in industrial cutting machines for the food sector, explains.

   “That fresh-cut fruit is an emerging market, is a given,” Niels Van Laer says. “There will definitely come a moment when the market is so big that the cutting plants will come up with a demand for machines, but at the moment we’re not seeing that demand take definite shape yet. It’s mainly the industry where machines for fruit are deployed a lot.”

   Fruit crisps, yoghurt and a fruit carpet
The FAM machines with high, industrial capacity are used for various applications. For fruit, this means the machines can be found at fruit crisp factories, yoghurt producers and manufacturers of preserves. “When you just look at the amount of peaches that are diced up for yoghurt, those are very large volumes,” Niels says. Most of these companies are found in Southern Europe. Toward the east, fruit is often cut to make fruit crisps. “We have a large client in Germany for instance, making apple crisps. Other applications include fruit processing for pastry, or dried fruit for breakfast cereals or sports bars. The types of fruit processing are really regional, like in India, where huge amounts of mangoes are cut for chutneys.”

  An special application of fruit being cut, can be found at a company in Belgium that creates an “infinite fruit carpet” out of various types of fruit. This “fruit carpet” is then cut into small pieces, and processed into biscuits, for instance. A final example for which a lot of fruit is being cut, is the production of jam. “Often, very ripe fruit is used for that, which is mostly cut frozen. If you were to cut a normal ripe strawberry, you’d never end up with even pieces. With a frozen strawberry, that is possible. For all these markets we have machines all over the world.”

  Cutting fruit for smoothies and juices 
 Within the fresh segment, there is a growth market, Niels Van Laer notes: the market for juices and smoothies. With that growth, the consumer’s awareness also comes into play, with consumers opting more and more for the fresh juices than the juices from concentrate with a lot of sugar. “For the fresh juices, the fruit is pre-cut first, in order to maximize the juice yield. Whereas a few years ago juicers of about ten litres per hour were still used, now there are juicers for 100 litres per hour. That makes manual cutting impossible.”
   For the development of a cutting machine for fruit, the same principles apply as for vegetables. “When processing fresh, vulnerable products, it’s important to cause as little damage as possible to the product’s cell structure. It’s important to accelerate the product as little as possible, to use razor-thin knives, and to compress the product as little as possible. That’s important for the shelf life of the cut products.”

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