Not everyone knows that apple peel has beneficial effects because it contains ursolic acid, which helps keep body weight under control. Therefore, the peel is precisely what gives apples that something extra! If, to this, we add the increasing habit of eating ready food, then we can explain the success of bagged apple wedges used as snacks.
FreshPlaza talked about it with Virginia Cascella, expert in the fresh-cut sector and sales manager at PND, an Italian company specializing in the manufacture of fruit processing machines.
"Thanks to the boom in demand deriving from the 'fruit at school' project, the request for machinery capable of processing produce for the fresh-cut industry has increased. Over the past few years, the consumption of ready-to-eat fruit has increased thanks to 80g bags of apple wedges with the peel. The peel contains beneficial properties that increase the level of good fat which burns more calories, thus reducing the risk of obesity especially in children."
In short, it seems that having immediate access to healthy food encourages its consumption and this has increased demand!
"The apple wedge, moreover," adds the expert, "has always been one of the components of the fruit salad, i.e. the mix of fruit that we find in ready-to-eat trays together with melon, pineapple and kiwi. The main destinations of sliced and bagged apples, therefore, are school, public and company canteens, large-scale retail trade and the Horeca sector referring to the fast food restaurants of the most important chains in Italy and worldwide'.
'In this context,' specifies PND's sales manager, 'is the new automatic apple slicing line, model CB8 from PND. It is an automatic slicing and dicing machine, specially designed for apples. The system consists of a tank for collecting the fruit, followed by the automatic orientator and a system of punches that transport the apple to the cutting station. In the last phase, the cutting into segments takes place, thanks to the pad that pushes the fruit onto the die and allows it to be cut and the core to be separated on a special belt'.
Apples can be cut into as many as 20 wedges. The process is fully automatic: operators only intervene when the fruits are loaded into the tank. Wedges can be treated to prevent browning.
“Deze lijn biedt veel voordelen, waaronder de hoge snijkwaliteit, de hoge productiecapaciteit en door de automatisering zijn er weinig medewerkers nodig. Net als alle andere machines van PND is ook deze zeer gebruiksvriendelijk en de onderhouds- en schoonmaakprocessen zijn eenvoudig uit te voeren. Het heeft een opbrengst van 75% en is ideaal voor internationale leveranciers of bedrijven die verpakkingen met 80 gram gesneden appelen op de markt brengen”, besluit Cascella.