PHILSTAR

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

DOLE Sunshine Co., the international food company, said a quality control system using artificial intelligence (AI) which it pilot-tested at its Mindanao pineapple operation will be rolled out for wider use en route to its goal of zero fruit waste by 2025.

Barbara Guerpillon, global head of Dole Ventures, the conglomerate’s innovation arm that supports startup initiatives, said in an e-mail interview that the company’s AI-based quality control platform was developed by Israeli software company Clarifruit, which describes itself as a provider of quality control as a service (QCaaS) solutions.

“The objective is to make our internal processes more efficient and sustainable which, ultimately, we believe will impact our business bottom-line in the long run,” the Singapore-based Ms. Guerpillon said.

According to Ms. Guerpillon, the Clarifruit platform will help Dole achieve a 10% reduction in fruit losses by 2024, bringing the company closer to its ultimate target of zero losses.

She said the platform allows Dole to better match fruit sent to retailers to the latter’s requirements for shape, size, ripeness, and color, resulting in a lower customer rejection rate.

“Since implementing the Clarifruit software, Dole has seen a more than 2X productivity increase and reduction in error-prone quality control reports. While this technology does not directly help farmers, we were able to upskill our employees at the farm and enable them to use technology to improve their overall efficiency,” Ms. Guerpillon said.

Ms. Guerpillon said the AI quality control platform was piloted in early 2021 on Dole pineapples exported from the Philippines.

“The Clarifruit application was piloted by Dole’s quality control teams at the pre-inspection facility at Mindanao Island in the Philippines, from where our pineapples are exported to six key destination markets worldwide,” Ms. Guerpillon said.

“The success of the pilot led to the decision to scale our partnership with Clarifruit to other markets and fruit categories, including bananas, papayas, and avocados. On a more macro level, this will also help Dole cultivate a culture of innovation within the company while digitalizing our supply chain at its core,” she added.