Inaba Peanuts Co., Ltd. produces more types of food than its name suggests. Established more than a century ago as a maker of rice crackers in 1918, the business began to specialize in processing peanuts since 1947. It now also produces snacks such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, chestnuts, Japanese Dried plums, Almond fish, and Fried beans. At its four factories in Gifu Prefecture in central Japan, the company’s mission is to produce foods with “safety, security, and deliciousness”.
Inaba’s almonds and cashews became so popular that the company faced two significant challenges. One was the need to increase output to keep up with demand - but production rates were restricted by bottlenecks because of heavy reliance on manual sorting. The other was to achieve fewer variations in product quality - but again, the traditional method of manually sorting nuts was limiting achievable consistency.
Reassured by TOMRA Food’s approach
Inaba Peanuts Co., Ltd.’s President and CEO, Mr.YoIchi Ogura, found solutions to both these challenges when he attended FOOMA JAPAN, the international food machinery and technology exhibition, in 2017. Visiting the stand of TOMRA Food, Mr. Ogura quickly recognized that TOMRA’s industry-leading sorting machines could help Inaba achieve both its targets: higher production volumes and consistent product quality.
What’s more, TOMRA’s sorters could also help Inaba reduce food waste and improve yields. This is important not only for business efficiency but also because consumers increasingly expect food producers to adopt sustainable business practices.
Mr. Ogura was also encouraged by the fact that TOMRA Food works closely with customers, regarding working relationships as partnerships with shared objectives. And he was reassured to learn that TOMRA is willing to demonstrate its machines’ capabilities by running tests with customers’ infeed materials, and to prove that the results of these tests are repeatable. TOMRA Food’s engineers also fine-tune machine settings for each individual food application and production plant to ensure optimal performance.
When TOMRA Food reviewed Inaba Peanuts’ requirements, it was clear that the company needed the TOMRA 5B optical sorting machine. Inaba took delivery of a TOMRA 5B in September 2021 and is delighted with the results.