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In just five years since its start-up, Logofruits has become the largest blueberry producer in Portugal and one of the largest in Europe. As well as growing and packing fruit for well-known supermarket chains in northern Europe and Spain, Logofruits also provides packing services for wholesalers from South America and South Africa. And the business is still growing: for its sixth season, in 2024, production at its packhouse near Alcácer will step up from one shift per day to two.
This fast-moving success story has been made possible by the vision and exacting standards of the business' founder and managing partner, Lourenço De Botton. Although Lourenço started cautiously, with a modest 15-hectare site, he thinks big. After researching the blueberry industry's challenges and opportunities and visiting other blueberry packhouses to see how they do things, he arrived at two important decisions.
Logofruits' Packing House Manager at the Alcácer plant, Miguel Silva, affirms Lourenço De Botton's view that the TOMRA equipment has been transformative. He remembers: “Before we acquired these machines, we were dispatching nearly all our fruit to our partners in Holland to be packed for the different European markets. In Portugal, we packed only products for the domestic market ourselves, and we did this manually. With the new equipment, we have gained control of our product quality and our price-setting. We are able to control quality to the smallest detail.
“With KATO, we can sort by size, softness, and shape – the roundness or ovality of the fruit. This has eliminated problems with produce being rejected by clients. We've reduced rejections almost to zero. We can satisfy each client's individual specifications by putting exactly what fruit we want into each pallet or box. And with the CURO12 and 16, we can do multiple formats, handling two distinctive orders at the same time.”
Lourenco summarizes: “Our product quality is now reliably excellent, which will further increase our reputation and sales. We can now meet the needs of markets that we couldn't before, also opening the door to new sales. And our relationship with TOMRA is strong. There is a great partnership between machine-user and machine-supplier which will help us keep moving forward.”