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Shining a light on quality

Industry Best Practice

Quality Project aims to empower packhouses to make data-driven decisions to improve fruit quality. 

APAL has recently released the first month of packhouse quality reporting, including the packhouse performance dashboard, via APAL’s new online Quality Hub. 

This first monthly report detailed the industry’s performance for February 2024, examining the Brix and pressure quality results of the top 20 packhouses.  

The 20 packhouses included in the monthly packhouse performance dashboard represent 80 per cent of the total fruit sampled over the 12 months. During this time, over 15,000 pieces of fruit were tested across 3,000 batches, with fruit sampled from the three major retailers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. 

APAL has referenced the specifications for Brix and pressure from the three major retailers to determine the standard industry specification. Using the minimum specification from all three major retailers, APAL created an acceptable range taking the lowest and highest specification from across the retailers for each measurement. 

Anything below the lowest acceptable minimum specification is determined as a ‘fail’, anything within the range ‘meets expectation’, and anything above is classified as ‘exceeds expectation’. 

The top 20 packhouses included in the dashboard are initially de-identified in the report; however, if a packhouse fails to meet Brix or pressure specifications for two consecutive months, APAL will reveal the packhouse’s identity. Within the dashboard, the names of the underperforming packhouses will appear in place of the de-identified code and will be visible to the remaining packhouses that form the top 20. 

Upon a return to good performance and meeting specifications, well-performing packhouses will revert to anonymity. 

Ensuring the consumer has the best possible eating experience is critical to building domestic consumption. 

Learning from the success of the Pomewest Quality Testing Program, the APAL Quality Project and packhouse performance dashboard aims to shine a light on where quality is falling short, empowering packhouses to make data-driven decisions to improve fruit quality for both retailers and consumers.  

The packhouse performance dashboard is accessible to the top 20 packhouses included in the report.  

A detailed update on the APAL Quality Program will be presented at the 2024 APAL Industry Forum in Melbourne on Monday 3 June. 

About the Quality Project

Over the past 12 months, APAL has been collecting samples of Royal Gala and Pink Lady apples, and Williams and Packham pears (whichever is in season), as part of the industry’s Quality Project. 

To inform the Quality Project, APAL has collected 52 weeks of data from across three major retailers in three geographical locations – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Over the 12 months, more than 15,000 pieces of loose and pre-packed fruit have been sampled across 3,000 batches. 

Each month, the fruit is tested for Brix, pressure, bruising and blemishes. The entire industry performance is publicly available online to individuals with access to the APAL Quality Hub. 

Packhouse-specific performance is only reported to the top 20 packhouses with the most fruit tested over the 12 months. The top 20 packhouses make up approximately 80 per cent of all fruit sampled during the period. 

Packhouse quality performance data, and industry performance, is published in the new online APAL Quality Hub

Further information 

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. 

 

This article was first published in the Autumn 2024 edition of AFG.

 

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