More Fruit Markets To Gain The Spectre Advantage
In the ever-evolving world of fruit production and packing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. As stone fruit growers and packers face an array of challenges, ranging from labor shortages and competition, to supply chain complexities, innovative solutions have become paramount.
Enter early fruit sizing technology, exemplified by Hectre’s Spectre AI app, a game-changing solution that is expected to revolutionize the stone fruit industry.
Common Stone Fruits
Stone fruits are a type of drupe – thin-skinned, fleshy fruits containing a single large seed encased within a tough outer shell. They can be clingstone or freestone, fuzzy or smooth, sour or sweet. The drupes we call stone fruit come from about 15 species of the genus Prunus, a member of the rose family, and include peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries.
Spectre for Cherries which delivers both early size and color data, has already been developed by Hectre and is now being used by premier cherry producers and packers around the world, including Washington Fruit & Produce, Monson Fruit, Verfrut and River Valley Fruit.
Hectre’s latest innovation to hit the R&D lab – Spectre for Stone Fruit – will focus on peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots.
The growing consumer appetite for healthy eating and food choices, continues to drive demand for stone fruits. Stone fruit benefits include encouraging healthy digestion, fighting diabetes and obesity, plus boosting immunity.
According to export reports, the top exporters of fresh peaches and nectarines in 2021, were Spain ($1.12B), Turkey ($172M), United States ($168M), Italy ($167M), and Chile ($142M). Exports of fresh apricots from Turkey were expected to exceed 100 thousand tons this harvest. Chile ($215M), followed by Spain ($167M) led the exports of fresh plums in 2021.
Why Size Matters
Whether you’re dealing with peaches, plums, apricots, or nectarines, size matters in the world of stone fruit. The size of the fruit significantly influences its marketability and success.
Consider peaches, for instance. When harvested and transported from the orchard to the packing house, the size of peaches dictates their destination and purpose. This decision influences:
- Market Timing: When and where to sell the fruit for maximum profit.
- Management of Packing Stock: Determining what packaging will be required, and when.
- Pack Line Efficiency: Optimizing packing line setups and labor allocation for seamless operations and minimal downtime.
Size plays a pivotal role in the stone fruit journey from orchard to shelf. It’s key to making informed decisions and streamlining operations in an industry where precision is paramount.
”"The addition of Spectre for Cherries to our technology program, is already providing exceptional outcomes. We have reduced our downtime from 5 to 10 minutes per hour during packing, to basically zero."
At Hectre, we’re known as agritech innovators that solve the real problems faced by owners, managers, supervisors and QC staff at orchards, packhouses and enterprise fresh produce businesses. Spectre is cutting-edge technology, that may redefine how stone fruit is sized and managed.
At its core, Spectre employs state-of-the-art computer vision and machine learning techniques to detect and measure the size distribution of fruit in real-time. The best part? All of this can be done with a simple click on a mobile phone or tablet. By simply capturing a photo of the top layer of fruit bins, Spectre delivers precise size data within seconds.
The real-time, accurate data that Spectre provides, enables growers and packers to optimize their operations, reduce wastage, and meet the demands of dynamic markets.
The Power of Computer Vision and Machine Learning AI
Computer vision replicates human visual perception, allowing cameras or computer systems to identify objects within images or videos, much like your eyes instantly recognizing five fingers without counting. Machine learning takes it a step further, enabling computers to perform tasks without explicit instructions. Spectre combines these technologies to identify and size fruit accurately.
In an industry where precision is king, Spectre has proven to be a game-changer, boasting a remarkable 95% accuracy rate when compared to traditional methods. This cutting-edge technology empowers growers and packers to make informed decisions earlier and with unparalleled accuracy.
Hectre has continuously expanded Spectre’s capabilities in response to market demand, catering for more and more produce types. Currently, Hectre offers Spectre solutions for apples, pears, cherries, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and mandarins), and onions. Each tailored solution provides growers and packers with invaluable insights into the size distribution of their specific crop.
In addition, Hectre’s Spectre AI also offers early color grading for apples and cherries. Developed following requests from both Northern and Southern Hemisphere fresh produce industries, Spectre for Color enables growers and packers to achieve premium pricing for their fruit that meets optimal color grade.
Hectre’s innovation in the fruit industry has also been recognized globally with triple wins in the global AgTech Breakthrough Awards and multiple awards in the prestigious Stevie Awards.
R&D on Hectre’s latest innovation – Spectre Stone Fruit – has begun. Stone fruit producers and packers are hoping to gain the same valuable large size samples as apple growers and packers from around the world have been experiencing.
The Old Way Of Doing Things
Traditionally, stone fruit growers and packers have had to rely on manual methods to assess fruit size, including using labor-intensive calipers and sizing rings. These methods are not only time-consuming but also inconsistent and prone to errors.
Labor availability and costs have long been a significant concern for the stone fruit industry. Traditional manual sizing methods consume precious time and labor resources. Early fruit sizing technology, like Spectre for Stone Fruit, will streamline the process, enabling data-driven decisions that optimize workforce deployment, pack planning and sales.
Spectre for Stone Fruit will first be offered as a Hand-Held option, where users simply take a photo on their mobile device, of stone fruit in bins and receive size profiles within seconds.
QC staff will be able to use Spectre for Stone Fruit in the orchard, in the coolstore and in the packhouse – anytime and anywhere to facilitate data-driven decision making.
Real-Time Valuable Benefits
Hectre’s Spectre mobile early fruit-sizing app delivers real-time data, making it easy to adjust operations where needed, enabling growers and packers to make better picking, packing, and sales decisions. The results are delivered within seconds to customers’ devices and can also be shared through reports, or integrated into internal data systems using Hectre’s API.
Sales teams gain greater certainty around the size of the fruit available to sell, and packhouses can reduce costs, through reductions in pack line stoppages caused by the wrong-sized fruit being selected for the pack.
More than 148 million pieces of fruit, including apples, oranges, cherries, lemons, and mandarins have now been sized by Hectre’s Spectre AI to date. These massive proprietary data sets, provide Hectre with a highly competitive advantage in the market and greater value for their customers.
Early fruit sizing technology equips stone fruit growers and packers with the tools they need to thrive in a data-driven industry.
As Spectre for Stone Fruit will require no touch on the fruit, it is expected that the solution will offer distinct advantages over expensive fruit presizer machines. Stone fruits are notoriously fragile, prone to bruising and damage during handling. Spectre eliminates physical contact, preserving the fruit’s quality and appearance. Presizer machines also require dedicated floor space, often a luxury in busy packhouses. Spectre’s mobile app can be used on-site with just a mobile device, eliminating the need for bulky equipment and dedicated areas.
By embracing innovations like Spectre, both growers and packers can unlock new levels of efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
R&D work on Spectre for Stone Fruit has now begun with models being developed and tested during the South American stone fruit season.