Dec 03, 2018
SATO, a global pioneer in the development of auto-ID and labeling solutions has developed coro-eye™, the world’s first system of its kind to scientifically predict fruit ripeness to the tastes of individual consumers by assessing the firmness of selected fruits. It is only available in Japan, and is targeted at high-end fruit retailers, supermarkets, department stores and producers who sell direct to market.
Gift-giving to show gratitude is a common custom in Japan and East Asia to reflect appreciation for personal and business relationships. Since a gift’s monetary value is quite important to show how indebted the giver is, perfectly mature high-end fruit is a highly desirable gifting item. The naming of the coro-eye system is a portmanteau from the Japanese words for ‘ripeness’ and ‘fit for’ with wordplay on “eye” to represent the visualization aspect of the solution.
The system employs a fruit firmness testing method patented in Japan by Hiroshima University. In the past, there had been no sure-fire system on the market to determine ripeness of individual fruit before eating but SATO’s solution gives consumers peace of mind in knowing they can enjoy their fruit at their best timing.
The system works by assigning a fixed ID to each piece of fruit with a QR code*1 at the point of production. The code is provided to the consumer who can estimate the perfect timing to eat with the help of a ripeness guide which provides a range of days the fruit will go from “firm” to “somewhat soft.” The guide also lets users access a website via the QR code for details about the producer, messages from the gift giver and useful tips about the best way to slice the fruit and more. The website has social features as well, allowing those who receive the fruit as gifts to send their thanks to the person who gave them the fruit and give reviews of the fruit to help producers and retailers make improvements and enable a virtuous co-creation value cycle.
SATO has been involved in development of the system since the proof of concept phase. Hiroshi Yamamoto, owner of Kudamono no Yamacho, a long-established fruit retailer in Japan’s Kochi City and an early adopter of coro-eye said, “Aside from the sweetness, one indicator of a fruit’s deliciousness is its firmness. SATO’s system visualizes how firm the fruit will be in the future so users can decide the best time to eat it, based on their tastes. We have experimented long and hard to determine the perfect ripeness of melons and pears and this system finally delivers. Our customers have praised the system for its precision and the peace of mind it gives.”
In addition to printers and labels, SATO provides producers and retailers with firmness testing equipment (for purchase or rental) as well as a cloud-based web system which tie it all together. The solution currently works for five fruits which make up roughly half of Japan’s fruit gift market, including melons, peaches, mangoes, watermelon and pears. Other fruits are planned to be added in the future, bringing the total coverage of Japan’s gift fruit market to 80 percent. SATO aims for deployment of the system to 200 stores across Japan by 2021.
*1QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED in Japan and other countries.
How it works
- SATO creates a graph of the firmness of the fruit over time (1) and a graph of the flavor evaluation judged by the tester (2). The firmness is specified (as a or b) and applied to the master curve.
- The retailer measures the firmness of the fruit (e) in the store using a testing instrument which uses sensors to detect the resonant frequency by applying a micro vibration.
- The firmness grade is applied to the master curve (1) to predict how many days later the fruit will be ready to eat (c-f days later) and the eat-by date (d-f), which are indicated in the guide.
The coro-eye website
With the use of a fixed unique ID, value-added information including the best timing to eat, messages and reviews can be attached to provide feedback on the product and enable a virtuous co-creation cycle.