In 2007 the Ruparel family started producing peanut butter and since then has become one of India’s leading manufacturers and exporters of peanut butter and peanut pastes.
Ruparel Foods is located in Mahuva, a town in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat state, a region which produces 75 percent of India’s peanut crop. India is the second largest producer of peanuts in the world behind China
In order to address aflatoxin contamination issues, Ruparel Foods turned to Tomra Sorting Food. Vishal Ruparel, managing director at Ruparel Foods, explains the positive impact this partnership has had on the company.
Ruparel Foods employs 60 full-time staff at its peanut factory, and in 2014, the company increased its production capacity to approximately 50 metric tons per day.
Located at the heart of the Indian peanut production
Vishal commented: “The location of our factory gives us an important competitive advantage because we don’t have to source peanuts from beyond a 200 km radius, like some of our competitors. We are situated in a region where 60 percent of India’s peanut production is located, and it is because of this direct access that the quality of our peanuts is outstanding.”
To stay competitive the Ruparel family employs machines which they import from North America and Europe. The facility is equipped with a laboratory for testing aflatoxin, and the company is also active in color identification using spectrophotometer color matching of the peanut butter and peanut paste.
Once treated, Ruparel Foods supplies major retailers around the world, including the United States of America, Canada, Europe and South Africa. The company also claims that its export business is continuing to grow and it also supplies directly to developing countries.
The problem prior to installation: loss of good peanuts
Vishal explains: “We process approximately 6,000 tons of peanuts annually. With Tomra’s Helius sorting machines we are able to remove all aflatoxin-contaminated peanuts. Since we buy directly from shellers, we do not have to worry about foreign materials. However, by implementing Tomra’s Helius sorting machine, we are also able to reduce the rejection of good products. Moreover, that’s the reason why we bought a second peanut sorter from Tomra, as we have seen there is a clear quality improvement from our previous sorting machine.”
“Our previous sorting machine was used to reject contaminated peanuts. However, only one in every eight nuts rejected was actually bad. That meant over 85 percent of the peanuts we were rejecting was actually fine.”
“Our Tomrasorting machine has enhanced that process by over 50 percent which has improved yields and helped to maximize our profitability.”
“During our market research we also visited several trade shows such as SIAL and Gulfood Dubai. After talking to the local sales representative, we requested a demonstration with our product in Tomra’s test center in Leuven, Belgium. It was there that we targeted the removal of aflatoxin with laser sorting and the results were very convincing. Combining the persuasive demo results with Tomra’s reputation made our decision a very easy one.”
Cost price is not a determining factor
Vishal adds: “We have found Tomra’s peanut sorting machines very cost effective. They are not cheap, but the Helius is an outstanding sorting machine and that’s what is most important. If you buy a sorter, the price is not the determining factor, it’s the quality of the machine that is decisive. If you invest in the wrong machine, the cost price will be unacceptable.”