In South Carolina, Sonoco, one of the largest diversified global packaging companies, announced its investment in and joint development partnership with Harvest CROO Robotics. Harvest CROO (Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer) Robotics began in 2012 to create a solution to the dwindling labor force in agriculture.
“This partnership solidly aligns with our focus on improving the supply chain for fresh produce by connecting harvesting technology with new packaging technology,” said Sonoco CEO Rob Tiede. “Efforts to improve harvesting efficiency, decrease food waste and extend freshness life are key focus areas for us as we expand into fresh food packaging.”
The automated strawberry picker will work at least 20 hours per day, with the goal of being able to pick 95 percent of the fruit off of any plant. The new Harvest CROO technology will allow growers to avoid picking during the hottest part of the day, when berries bruise the easiest.