RAGO Group is one of the leading Italian producers of washed, packaged and ready-to-eat (fourth range) salad, and the second biggest exporter of rocket in Europe.
On the market since 1892 and now run by the founding family’s fifth generation, RAGO’s strengths lay in its sustainability and innovation. Every single process in the company is monitored and meets stringent quality parameters – from the production on its 500 acres through to packaging and shipment of the product.
At RAGO’s, innovation goes hand in hand with continuous investment in research and development, which takes up 4% of the company’s turnover. This belief in innovation and technology was at the root of the company’s decision to purchase five TOMRA Food sorting machines, which were delivered in December 2019.
Mariano Rago, CEO of the company, said: “We knew TOMRA and its cutting-edge technology, so we decided to adopt its sorting equipment.”
Gianluca Coloretti, Area Sales Manager Italy, TOMRA Food, said: “In Italy, the salad sector has already reached a good level of automation, but a focus on food safety from increasingly demanding customers continues to grow. As a consequence, producers and packagers are looking for more and more sophisticated technologies to avoid complaints or damage to their image, which they can’t afford. Our sorting machines with combined laser/camera technology have set a new standard in food safety in this type of product. That’s why we perfectly meet RAGO’s needs.”
The five new TOMRA sorting machines have been positioned on the line dedicated to salad preparation, washing and drying. RAGO takes the greatest precautions to ensure the visual and sensory qualities of its ready-to-eat products, and eliminate all foreign bodies such as insects, or plastic and wood fragments that may have come from the fields. RAGO’s battle against foreign bodies begins in the fields, where it takes a host of precautions and processes to mitigate the issue. From the field, the products go to the processing and packaging house where the TOMRA machines take over and remove any remaining foreign bodies.
Mariano Rago explained: “When a large mass of leaves is processed, the danger can lay hidden among them. This is where the sorter plays an important role, ensuring continuous visual control using the most sophisticated technology.”
The TOMRA sorting machines have been in operation for several months, closely monitored by Gaetano Rago, who is in charge of technological innovation at RAGO, and the company is satisfied with the results: “From the controls, we carry out daily, we have been able to appreciate TOMRA’s contribution to our achieving the highest quality of the finished product, with no residues or foreign bodies – all to the benefit of our brand and our customers.” The TOMRA sorter guarantees a full inspection of every single baby leaf or rocket, taking quality and food safety to unprecedented levels.