Setting up a Pomegranate Juice Production Unit
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A cooperative in Greece set up a fully-automated production line for 100% natural pomegranate juice and fostered a spirit of cooperation among its members.
The members of the cooperative ALFIOS POMEGRANATE SA used EAFRD funding to set up a fully-automated production line for 100% natural pomegranate juice. The support was used for buying the necessary machinery for all stages of production starting from the washing stage, the selection process, the peeling, separating the fruit pulp, the automatic transfer of the juice to the fermentation and pasteurisation unit, and finally bottling.
The cooperative also established common production standards for its producers in order to ensure optimum quality of raw material. The company maintains a database and has obtained AGRO 2.1 and 2.2 certificates for its crops. It has also established a distribution network.
Initially 69 producer shareholders participated in the joint venture company. Today the company has 120 shareholders covering 2 000 acres which are geographically spread across the Peloponnese and Attica regions.
The juice production began at the end of 2015. The unit initially produced 16 332 bottles of 100% natural juice without preservatives, sweeteners and flavourings. The juice is bottled in 250 ml glass bottles. Around three tonnes of raw material can be processed by the plant per hour, giving an annual production of an estimated 822 000 litres of juice.
The plant is welcoming school visits and is cooperating with a university to further improve the quality of its product. It is looking to capitalise on the product's local identity and to open up the pomegranate fields and plant to interested visitors.
The project also investigated the potential use of the residues (seeds) for the production of essential oils. The cooperative also aims to produce fresh juice for direct local marketing. A possible spot for direct selling is considered the touristic area of Ancient Olympia.