Every nation is on a mission to achieve food security. Food production is increasingly challenged by climate change, geopolitical tensions, biodiversity loss, economic and retailing pressures – all of which exacerbate and erode growers’ profits.  Countries such as the UK, USA and Australia recognise that fruit and vegetables have a key role to play in ensuring long-term health, maintaining a working population and minimising the risk of food shortages.


A focus on packing automation for the UK


On 14th May 2024, the UK government announced a blueprint proposal to increase domestic production of fruit and vegetables. One of the initiatives in the proposal is for the government to invest up to £50 million¹ in packhouse automation to help make the blueprint proposal a success. The packhouse is essentially where the collection, grading, inspection and packing of fresh produce takes place. Traditionally, this has relied on manual labour from migrant workers, but advances in horticultural technology mean that fruit and vegetables can be grown faster, using less land and producing higher yields.


Making agriculture more climate-smart for Australia


Australia’s National Farmer’s Federation has also set ambitious targets to increase agricultural production to $100 billion by 2030². The Australian government is focusing on sustainability, conservation and climate-smart applications, such as the $302.1 million Climate Smart Agriculture Program³ announced in 2023. The focus is on increasing the connectivity of sensors and machinery to enable farmers to make better decisions on the farm to increase productivity.


Infrastructure grants for food systems in the US


In May 2023, the USDA launched the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program⁴, which provides up to $420 million in grants to support farmers and producers. These grants encourage technologies that increase production, diversify product lines, ensure food safety, and expand capacity for sorting, packing, labelling, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, distributing, and wholesaling fresh produce. To date, seven states in the US have received these grants.


Incentives to increase the scale of fruit and vegetable production   


What’s clear from the grants and proposals from the various governing regions is the continued emphasis on growth in the sector, ensuring that technologies enable sustained increases in productivity and profitability. Where there is volume, high yield and diversification comes the need for greater speed, capacity handling, food traceability, waste reduction, product quality and safety for operational effectiveness.

JBT Proseal machines and JBT AutoCoding software provide an end-to-end solution for quality and efficient packhouse automation, as outlined in a recent Automate UK article. As the challenge of climate can have a devastating impact on crop yields, it is even more important to preserve and maintain the commercial validity of each and every piece of fresh produce – from the moment it is packaged.


The following points demonstrate how JBT Proseal and JBT AutoCoding solution can increase operational effectiveness within the packhouse.


Handling speed and capacity 

As the volume of fruit and vegetable products increases, the demand for efficient handling and packaging solutions also rises. Advanced machines such as the JBT Proseal GT2 tray sealer and CP3 case packer, can process up to 120 packs per minute, offering high capacity handling capabilities. These machines can automatically seal trays in-line and pack cases at remarkable speeds. Previously, workers manually handled these trays, including the printing and labelling of each case, tote or box at the start of a shift. Now, this process can be automated using AutoCoding software and an automatic print inspection system. These technologies enable high speed setup, automatic printing and inspection, ensuring high quality labelling.


Food traceability

Greater connectivity doesn’t just stop at the farm, it can continue in the packhouse where time is of the essence when it comes to freshness. The AutoCoding system, a software solution that controls and monitors the packaging line process through recipe deployment and device control, is also capable of applying unique coding, organising, aggregating and analysing the data collected from each piece of device. The AutoCoding system knows where the product is coming from, what ingredients are in the order, where it is being processed, including the line terminal, and where it is going, because it holds a master data file for each job order. The AutoCoding system monitors, collects and logs data from all line events, providing the journey of fresh produce packs as they move from primary packaging to tertiary packaging (it can be connected to pallet labellers in addition to the GT2 tray sealer and CP3 case packer). Traceable information can include contextual data from the job file and pack related data such as operator name, line location, line counts, quality related data and run rate.


Waste reduction

JBT Proseal machines can handle sustainable tray formats to reduce packaging waste. With increasing packaging regulations in the marketplace, there are a number of change considerations to take into account. AutoCoding systems as a control software reduces the risk of product recall and waste, and can play a role in the implementation of control measures in line with increased packaging requirements for fruit and vegetables.


Product quality and safety

Variety packs for fruit and vegetables are on the rise. Government regulations for labelling requirements are also increasing.  AutoCoding Systems can give you a competitive edge to comply with government regulations and avoid product recalls due to allergies, as the system is all about automated packaging verification and date coding.




With an understanding of the solutions and applications available, implementing technology solutions for the packhouse for sustained productivity and profitability can be simple. The integrated end-to-end solution of JBT Proseal and JBT AutoCoding is one example, designed to streamline processes, automate manual repetitive tasks and ensure control of volume, speed and traceable job orders, resulting in increased efficiency, productivity and operational effectiveness. By reducing human error and improving accuracy, the AutoCoding software solution embedded in the hardware can also minimise waste and improve overall profitability.

If you want to know more about these technologies following the latest grants, please contact [email protected].

AutoCoding and Proseal are part of the JBT Corporation family, a leading global technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food processing industry, committed to providing a service that surpasses customer expectations.



  1. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 14 May 2024, ‘A blueprint to grow the UK fruit and vegetable sector’, UK government, A blueprint to grow the UK fruit and vegetable sector – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  2. Richard Heath, Executive Director, 1 February 2019, ‘From sheep’s back to moonshot: meeting the 2030 targets’, Australian Farm Institute, From sheep’s back to moonshot: meeting the 2030 targets – Australian Farm Institute
  3. Australian Government, 2023, ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture Program’, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Climate-Smart Agriculture Program – DAFF
  4. S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak, 7 February 2024, ‘USDA Announces $270 Million Awarded to Build Food Supply Chian Resiliency’, U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Announces $270 Million Awarded to Build Food Supply Chain Resiliency | USDA


What is an AutoCoding System?

An AutoCoding system is a software solution that ‘automates the set-up of packaging line devices to avoid coding errors and, with the use of barcode scanning, verifies that the packaging is always correct for all products.’

What devices can be connected to an AutoCoding system?

AutoCoding systems can be connected to barcode scanners, thermal inkjet, coders, thermal transfer coders, laser printing, case labelling, print and apply labelling, cross wrap, metal detectors, checkweighers, x-ray detectors, inkjet coders, gas analysers and vision solutions.