JBT’s recent appearance at two of 2019’s most prominent produce trade events – Fruit Attraction 2019 in Madrid, Spain and PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California – was made even more significant by the fact that JBT’s Fresh Produce Technologies (FPT) business unit is this year celebrating its landmark 90th anniversary. 

It is an achievement that John Siddle, JBT’s FPT Global Product Line Director, describes as a testament to the enduring quality of JBT solutions. “We’re excited about being in business for 90 years,” he says. “It speaks to the quality of what we produce and the longevity of our organization.”

From founder John Bean’s invention of a continuous spray pump to battle scale in his almond orchards through to the introduction of the world’s first continuous rotary pressure sterilizer for processing low acid foods such as vegetables, the development of FPT can be traced through the history of JBT. 

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This commitment to developing new FPT solutions has continued with the Endura-Fresh™ line of coatings and the Freshgard™ decay control range, which can help improve product appearance, shelf-life, and guard against weight loss. More recently, JBT has brought on board two companies that can offer innovative solutions in fresh-cut machinery and produce packaging – FTNON and Proseal – both of which featured at PMA Fresh Summit 2019 and Fruit Attraction 2019.

According to John Siddle, much of this continued success can be traced to JBT’s technical expertise, which has allowed the company to adapt to the changing needs of the produce sector.

In particular, he says JBT’s FPT business has grown significantly over the past 20 years, almost doubling in size as a result of a move into produce labelling, fruit coatings and a focus on natural and water-based products. 

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Global expansion
The growth in the FPT business unit over the past two decades can be traced back to the outbreak of citrus greening in JBT’s former core market for juice extractors, Florida, which prompted a shrinking of the industry and a move of much of the production to California. “We saw growth opportunities for other FPT solutions in other parts of the US and we have made strides forward with that,” says Siddle. These solutions included the introduction of the JBT Tall Bin Scrubber, which has become a valued tool for field bin sanitization and the Freshgard® Chemtrol Programmable Controller for safe, reliable and low-cost control of the pH and sanitizer level in re-circulating water systems.

However, another major factor was JBT’s desire to develop its FPT market share outside the bounds of the US by taking the solutions and technologies to customers worldwide. “We’re now a whole lot more global than we were 20 years ago and we keep expanding,” adds Siddle who identifies the Middle East and Asia as two key growth markets for the years to come.

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