Tomra’s tech can spot a bad apple – and that’s good for stopping food waste
Recycling innovator Tomra is featured in new report by responsible investing leader Regnan which outlines four areas of investment in sustainable agriculture.
MOST people know Tomra from its reverse vending machines – those big metal kiosks that swallow your empty bottles and cans in exchange for a deposit refund.
The Oslo-listed company’s machines use sophisticated scanning technology to identify a bottle or can by its shape, material and barcode, sort it into the right recycling queue and provide an appropriate payout.
But that optical sorting technology has wider uses than recycling and it is now playing a key role in helping the agricultural industry manage food waste.
Food waste is an extraordinary challenge for the planet.
Some 1.3 billion tons of food is lost annually, including 45 per cent of all fruit and vegetables, 30 per cent of cereals and 20 per cent of all meat.
This means every year we lose the equivalent of 3.7 trillion apples, 1 billion bags of potatoes – and 75 million cows.
The impact on the planet is immense. Not only does lost food not reach consumers, but the extra resources required to replace the food wasted puts pressure on everything from soil quality to the water system – even ultimately affecting climate change by lifting greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste occurs throughout the food production systems, from growers, through to processors, distributors and retailers.
Tomra’s sorting technology is being used by the food industry to inspect millions of pieces of produce with the aim of preventing food unnecessarily going to waste.
Tomra knows a bad apple
“The sensors are sophisticated enough to detect the sweetness of an apple,” says Mohsin Ahmad, Regnan fund manager and co-author of the report Catalysing Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production.
“They can detect the quality of the produce, if there’s any defect, the shape and size and so on.”
The key is that rather than disposing produce with visual defects that is otherwise sound, producers can divert the produce to an alternative purpose such as juice production.
“It’s really helping to reduce food waste,” says Ahmad, adding that Tomra sorting technologies are helping to divert 5-10 per cent of produce from going to waste.
Across its global customer applications, waste diverted is approximately equivalent to 25,000 trucks worth of potatoes per year.
Tomra is a holding in the Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund.
Who is Regnan?
Regnan is a responsible investment leader with a long and proud history of providing insight and advice to investors with an interest in long-term, broad-based or values-aligned performance.
Building on that expertise, in 2019 Regnan expanded into responsible investment funds management, backed by the considerable resources of Pendal Group.
The Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund invests in mission-driven companies we believe are well placed to solve the world’s biggest problems.
The Regnan Credit Impact Trust (available in Australia only) invests in cash, fixed and floating rate securities where the proceeds create positive environmental and social change.
Both funds are distributed by Pendal in Australia.
Find out about Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund
Find out about Regnan Credit Impact Trust
For more information on these and other responsible investing strategies, contact Head of Regnan and Responsible Investment Distribution Jeremy Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regnan’s focuses is on delivering innovative solutions for sustainable and impact investment, leaning on over more than 20 years of experience at the frontier of responsible investment. “Regnan” is a registered trademark of Pendal.
The Regnan business consists of two distinct business lines. The investment management business is based in the United Kingdom and sits within J O Hambro Capital Management Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is registered as an investment adviser with the SEC. “Regnan” is a registered as a trading name of J O Hambro Capital Management Limited.
The investment team manages the Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions (RGEIS) strategy, which aims to generate market-beating long-term returns by investing in solutions to the world’s environmental and societal problems. The RGEIS strategy is distributed in Australia by Pendal Fund Services Limited.
Alongside the investment team is the Engagement, Advisory and Research (EAR) team of Pendal Institutional Limited in Australia, which has a long history of providing services on environmental, social and governance issues. While the investment management team will often draw on services from and collaborate with the EAR team, they remain independent of the EAR team and are solely responsible for the investment management of the RGEIS strategy.
The Regnan Credit Impact Trust (available in Australia only) invests in cash, fixed and floating rate securities where the proceeds create positive environmental and social change. Regnan Credit Impact Trust is distributed in Australia by Pendal.