“As Fresh Produce Centre, we’d like to support the QCAP project in achieving the best possible product quality for our members”
As a QCAP associate partner, the Fresh Produce Centre bridges the gap between research and practice. Daco Sol, Programme Manager for Logistics, Supervision & Supply Chain, explains exactly what this role entails and what steps he believes are still needed for a successful market launch of the monitoring system. We also ask him about his vision as a potato grower – would he buy the QCAP system for his harvest?
What role has Fresh Produce Centre played so far in the QCAP project?
“We’re looking critically at the development of the monitoring system, based on practical requirements that we are aware of. For example, during the project meetings, we discuss the accuracy of the measurements, how they correlate with the product status, and how the system can be linked to current measurement systems. By working together we can align the product as closely as possible to the needs of the sector. At a later stage, we can also establish contacts between the project partners and climate-controlled storage companies.”
In what area do you think the QCAP monitoring system adds the most value?
“A new monitoring system for climate and product behaviour is attractive if it enables better control, or the quality is the same, if it is more user-friendly or cheaper. QCAP’s strength lies in the use of sophisticated technology that offers added value by increasing the quality of products and reducing losses.”
What requirements does the system have to meet in order to ensure a successful market launch?
“While an advanced sensor and adequate software are important, so is the industrial design. Ideally, the system should be compatible with existing systems and should be low-maintenance. Another essential part is the controls. You want to be able to easily adjust and set where the measurements are taken and at what interval. If quality deteriorates, you need to be able to spot this quickly so that you act in time to prevent problems spreading or worsening. A combination of good measurements and a correct interpretation of the data means the difference between top quality or unwanted quality losses.”
How do you expect this market launch to go?
“I expect the system to have an impact on major preservation products, such as apples and pears, as well as other products with an advanced ripening process. As eight gases are measured at the same time, the system could provide the required sophistication for that as well.”
Being a grower yourself, would you be interested in using the system?
“The QCAP monitoring system is a fantastic, innovative product. But I’ll make the same calculations as other growers before using it, which means comparing the investment against the expected returns. The yields would need to be equal to the losses I can prevent, both in weight reduction and quality. I can’t yet tell the result of this calculation; the project should give some practical data on this over the coming weeks and months. In the next few years, the new technology will be brought in line with actual practice and preparations will be made for the market launch. I’m sure fruit and vegetable preservers will be closely following these developments.”