Plant & Food Research and Compac collaboration is finalist for KiwiNet Award

6 June 2019

A collaboration between Plant & Food Research and Compac, part of TOMRA Food, is amongst the final three nominees for the PwC Commercial Impact category of the 2019 KiwiNet Awards. The collaboration has facilitated the development and enhancement of two world-leading fruit grading and sorting technologies – Compac’s Spectrim and Inspectra². 

The PwC Commercial Impact Award celebrates excellence in research commercialisation delivering outstanding innovation performance and the potential for generating significant economic impact for New Zealand.

Through a shared vision, Plant & Food Research and Compac have worked together to build and validate the Spectrim and Inspectra² technologies. The technologies have allowed Compac to stay ahead of the market and double sales revenue in only four years.

Built from the ground up, Spectrim is the most powerful optical sorting platform ever offered to the industry, enabling world-leading external grading capabilities. The brief: design and manufacture a sorting platform which delivers superior performance, usability and a continuously upgradable platform for the produce industry. The Compac development team worked with Plant & Food Research and customers, learning and understanding the challenges the industry faces and delivering the future of produce sorting.  

Inspectra2 is Compac’s latest platform designed to accurately detect and grade internal fruit defects. Launched in 2016, the Inspectra2 system is a non-invasive, near-infrared (NIR) technology used for testing the internal properties of produce. NIR inspection analyses the spectra of light that is transmitted through every piece of produce to determine internal characteristics. 

External appearance is important for buyers’ purchase decisions, but internal quality is critical for consumer satisfaction. Beyond protecting and enhancing brand, NIR can increase profitability through supply chain optimization and reduced food waste.

Both Spectrim™ and Inspectra²™ allow marketers to reduce manual handling of fruit and vegetables and increase the volume of produce graded as premium at the same time. Benefits of the system includes the high resolution detection of external and internal defects in 10-15 fruits per second as it moves along the grader. 

Sales of the Compac technologies have exceeded expectations in the two years since release, with sales of the system in over 50 countries, and have led to increased manufacturing volumes and capabilities at the Auckland-based factory. 

All KiwiNet finalists will present their projects to a judging panel and audience on 7 August, 2019. Results will be announced later the same day.

For more information on KiwiNet Awards and other finalists, visit

Nickkita Lau
Senior Communications Advisor, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925-7204
Mobile: +64-21-569-221