Publication Date: 01 Aug 2022
Sub-Headline: Kral Incir, one of the leading exporters of dried figs, achieves high product quality and food safety by using industry-leading Tomra sorting machines.
TEXT: KRAL INCIR`S ORIGINS date back to the 1950s. This family-owned business, now under fourth-generation management, began trading in dried figs in 1977. In the years since, it has become one of Turkey`s most important dried fig exporters. The company is able to meet the high standards demanded by export markets by using two Tomra Helius and two Tomra Ixus sorting machines. At its facility in western Turkey, Kral processes an average of 6 000 tonnes of figs per year. It has been offering its products to foreign markets, under the King brand, for almost half a century. Today, the company exports 80% of its production. This goes to European countries (France, Germany and Belgium) as well as the United States and East Asia. More than half of the world`s dried fig production, approximately 120 000 tonnes per year on average, is supplied by Turkey. Kral Incir`s general coordinator, Alper Aksiit, said, `Turkey produces the highest quality figs and ranks first in the world`s 1 The Tomra sorting lines at the Kral Incir manufacturing plant .II Ill I
TEXT: dried fig production as well as first in exports. The value of these exports to our country is about $300 million per year.` One reason for this global success, Aksiit acknowledges is nature. `We have ideal conditions for fig production, with a Mediterranean climate on our coasts and wind blowing from various directions throughout the day, perfect for drying the figs. Some 80% of all the figs produced in Turkey are grown in Aydin region, which supplies 70% of the dried figs processed in our nation. We obtain our products only from farmers in this region. We capitalise on these natural advantages, when processing the product, by investing in automation and sensor-based sorting machines. These technologies enhance our exporting ability. Tomra sorting machines have enabled us to eliminate problems such as product defects, foreign materials and aflatoxin, so that we can offer our customers the best products,` says AksLit. DRIED FIGS ARE DIFFICULT TO PROCESS Kral Incir offers dried fig products domestically and internationally for various uses; sale by supermarket chains, as packaged dried fruit, and as industrial raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Aksiit said,`Dried fig is the most difficult dried fruit to process and package. The size and softness of the fruit`s grain volume cause the fig`s shape to change constantly. But optical sorting machines enable us to overcome such difficulties. Tomra`s sorters also help us by detecting and removing foreign materials and mycotoxin fractions.` To prevent aflatoxin-contaminated figs from getting into the final product, immense care has to be taken in cultivation, harvesting, and sorting `Tomra`s industry- leading sensors ensure a clear view of every single product and any defects.` processes. Aksiit explained, `The 1 fungi that cause aflatoxin in dried figs produce kojic acid. Fortunately, kojic acid radiates a green-blue colour in a dark environment under ultraviolet light, which means it can be seen in dark-room conditions by the Tomra Helius. We sort foreign materials such as glass, metal and stone with the Tomra Ixus. As crop volumes and product quality can vary from year to year, it is good to know that we can rely on optical sorting machines when the quality of the yield is troublesome. Tomra sorters also speed up our production times to a great extent.` DRIED FIGS CONTRIBUTE TO TURKISH ECONOMY `At the end of the 1980s, medium caliber dried figs were exported at around $1.50 to $2.00 per kilogram. Today, they fetch $5 - $6 per kilogram. During the year 2021- 22, approximately 77 000 tonnes were exported from Turkey. In fact, Turkey has been the world`s number one fig producer for the past five years, with a market share, on average, of 54%. `While dried figs were in high demand in export markets, demand was much lower in the domestic market, where they were considered a luxury product. Annual consumption is 40g/person in Turkey, but in Germany, it is 190g/person. However, due to changing eating habits in recent years and the trend towards healthy food products, dried fig consumption is now increasing here. We hope that in the coming years demand will increase both in the domestic market and for exports.` DELIGHTED WITH AFTER- SALES SERVICE Kral Incir decided to invest in Tomra sorting machines because of their effectiveness. Aksiit commented, `Tomra has provided highly innovative sorting solutions for the fresh and dried fruit industry. What`s more, during the seven years that we have used Tomra machines, we have been very pleased with the after-sales service support.` Tomra Food Turkey sales manager Ahmet Kocyigit stated, `Dried figs are strategically important in Turkey. This means it is especially important to invest in product processing to keep on meeting the high expectations of export markets. It is essential to sort key problems such as foreign materials, aflatoxin and quality defects. Tomra`s industry-leading sensors ensure a clear view of every single product and any defects.` Tomra - www.tomra.com/food The Tomra sorting lines at the Kral lncir manufacturing plant