Produce Brand Achieves Productivity Gains and Cost Savings

Calavo Growers, a Global Produce Brand, Achieves Major Productivity Gains and Cost Savings While Ensuring Critical Traceability


Watch Calavo Growers’ Operations Manager, Joseph Malagone, explain how the coding & traceability needs of their large avocado production operation were met by Matthews Marking Systems.


Faced with excessive material expenses, downtime, and waste due to coding errors, and a critical lack of after-sales support, Calavo Growers turns to Matthews Marking Systems to increase efficiency and decrease costs.

Calavo Growers ships 12 million boxes of avocados annually. The 53,000-square-foot Santa Paula facility alone contains 23 production lines and has served multiple purposes over the decades.

The high-volume packing facility was using a standard Product Traceability Initiative (PTI) labeling solution that was costly in terms of operational expenses and risks. Implementing Matthews Marking System’s automated and centralized MPERIA® marking and coding solution with thermal inkjet (TIJ) print technology, provided Calavo Growers:

  • Major cost reduction of material and maintenance
  • Increased efficiency due to automation and centralized control
  • Stronger security via tiered user access
  • Peace of mind with excellent after-sales, one-on-one support
  • Excellent ROI, the solution will pay for itself in under a year


The Challenge

The traditional PTI labeling solution was costing time, money, and aggravation. Repeated mislabeling issues resulted in production downtime, waste, and additional expenses to replace materials and product. “Data integration issues were not uncommon,” says Joseph Malagone, Operations Manager, “And—unfortunately—when they cropped up there was no one we could call to help us sort out technical problems.”  Without vendor support, Malagone was forced to rely on third-party providers, complicating the process while increasing operational costs.

“Our previous marking solution was very expensive and completely lacking in after-sales support.” – Joseph Malagone, Operations Manager

Calavo Growers needed a more advanced solution that used technology to streamline the marking process, and they needed a reliable and responsive support team to help ensure everything was running smoothly.


The Solution

The Matthews Marketing Systems (MMS) team conducted a thorough analysis of the Calavo Growers’ Santa Paula facility and needs, resulting in the recommendation of the MPERIA®️ platform paired with the VIAjet™ L-Series thermal inkjet printers.

MPERIA is the only universal marking and coding automation platform that works with virtually any hardware or software. Its flexibility makes it the ideal solution in a wide variety of environments and scenarios. MPERIA also allows for the centralization of the marking process, simplifying initial setup and making it easy to scale the operation for growth. The system enables consolidated control over all marking and coding—whether from the factory floor or the production manager’s office—across primary, secondary, and tertiary lines.

MPERIA Controller on Calavo Growers Production Line Avocados going down conveyor site

Malagone was particularly impressed with MPERIA’s fast and easy integration. “It only took four days to install and commission the system,” he says, “And we didn’t have to change a thing. After a very successful demo, we were able to easily integrate with our existing roller conveyor. We didn’t even have to adjust our box design. Everything came together seamlessly to deliver a GTIN barcode readable rate of 100%. We were really impressed.”

VIAjet L-Series Thermal Inkjet Printer on Calavo Growers Production LineCalavo Growers Produce Case Coded by L-Series Printer

The final solution included 22 L50 Printheads with thermal inkjet print technology and one MPERIA Standard Controller. This configuration allowed Calavo to put an individual printhead on each drop line—a creative idea that wasn’t possible with their old labeling solution. This eliminated 100% of data integration errors as each drop line managed its own PTI coding information—no more camera system required for variable box sizes on the main conveyor line. At the end of the day, it wasn’t just the technological aspect of the solution that convinced Malagone that MMS was the right partner.

“We also chose Matthews because they are an extremely reputable and reliable coding solution company with a long, trackable history; being almost 100-years-old ourselves, we value history and reliability.” – Joseph Malagone, Operations Manager



The Results

Major reduction in cost.
Transitioning from a labeling solution to direct print eliminates the need for costly label materials, instantly reducing overall costs to about 1/5 of what they had previously been paying. The cartridge-based system reduces maintenance issues to virtually nothing, eliminating regular ongoing maintenance costs.

Increased efficiency.
Full automation combined with TIJ technology eliminates the need for line workers to hand apply PTI codes. The operations team takes substantially less time to manage changes and updates due to the centralized system. This allows Malagone to reallocate resources to more profitable and productive tasks.

Stronger security.
The MPERIA system enables different levels of user access to guard against accidental setting changes that could create errors or otherwise jeopardize productivity.

Peace of mind.
Malagone’s confidence in the MPERIA solution was backed by Matthews Marking Systems’ expertise and responsiveness. “We’re extremely happy with the total, professional service from the Matthews team. From the very beginning of the proposal process to the installation to the training and after-sales support, the entire experience has exceeded our expectations,” he says. “We are grateful to have a partner who is always looking out for us and thinking about how to save us time and money.”

Excellent ROI.
It will take less than a year for the MPERIA solution to pay for itself, estimates Malagone. “We are so pleased overall with the product, the experience, and the service,” Malagone says, “We can’t wait to implement the MPERIA system in our larger facility in Uruapan, Mexico next year.”


About Calavo Growers, Inc.:
Headquartered in Santa Paula, California, Calavo Growers, Inc. is a publicly-traded, worldwide leader in the procurement and marketing of fresh avocados and other fresh produce as well as the manufacturing and distribution of prepared avocado products and salsas. The company has been proudly serving produce wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants worldwide since 1924.


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