Vitacress Salads, Ltd., is a UK-based manufacturer of watercress and baby leaf salads. With 450-500 employees in high season, the St. Mary Bourne, Hampshire, plant outputs over a million bags of salad per week.
In 2006, Vitacress was experiencing an unacceptable level of fresh cut product waste across their factories. Given a high cost per leaf of waste, the reasons for the wastage were analyzed. One of the main causes of the waste was product sticking to the surface of their conveyor belts.
Amitsinh Kumpavat, Improvements Engineer, met with analysts from Intralox to assess the problem. Intralox has developed solutions specifically for Fresh Cut industry applications and offered Vitacress different belt options to achieve waste reduction. The solution recommended by Intralox featured a closed, upper belt surface to eliminate product damage while facilitating efficient cleaning and a Nub Top™ surface design to provide effective product release.
After installing the Intralox solution on one conveyor, Vitacress saw a significant waste reduction. Subsequently, they installed the Intralox solution on all their conveyor lines. Vitacress experienced payback in less than one year.
“It seems that Intralox and Vitacress are together on a long-term relationship. It is reassuring to know that there is somebody out there working to develop better products for me. It makes my life so easy… I know that the hygiene supervisor would not accept anything that would not work…and the result was fantastic,” said Kumpavat.