Tomato processing plant

Univer Product has inaugurated its upgraded tomato processing plant in the city of Kecskemét, Hungary.

Claimed to be the biggest of its kind in Central Europe and equipped with advanced technology systems, the Kecskemét factory processes fresh tomatoes to manufacture a variety of products such as aseptic tomato concentrates, ketchup, mustard, jams, dressings, and sauces.

The upgrade increased Univer’s annual raw tomato processing capacity from 120,000t to 140,000t.

More than 40 locals have been employed to oversee tomato processing activities at the plant since it was opened in August. In addition, the plant benefits approximately 350 local people in the agriculture sector by purchasing from domestic suppliers and increasing the local market.

Univer products made at the plant will be delivered to domestic and export markets.

Kecskemet tomato processing plant details

The Kecskemét tomato processing factory uses raw materials sourced from local farmers to make Univer Hungarian products. The plant will be able to process tomatoes grown across 20ha when it runs at full capacity.

Tomatoes will be washed and graded, before being passed on to the juice extraction unit. Tomato juice will then be preheated and an enzymatic inactivation process will be performed. The product is then finely pulped and transferred to the evaporation section of the line.

Products made at the plant comply with high food hygiene and safety standards in Europe, as well as Hazard and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and International Featured Standard (IFS) certifications.

Equipment installed at Univer’s tomato processing plant

The upgraded facility is installed with advanced processing equipment supplied by Italian firm Catelli Food Technology (CFT), including a tomato sauce making machine, a chopper, an extractor, a refiner, discharge and hydraulic transport systems, manual sorting rolling tables, and a tomato washer, as well as a sorting table, a stone blocker, a defoliator, and an elevator. Other equipment available includes an evaporator, an aseptic steriliser, aseptic fillers, a size grader, a preheater, an enzymatic deactivation system, and a steam thermophysical peeler.

Construction and financing

Construction for Univer’s tomato processing plant upgrade began in 2016. The factory was built at a total cost of ft4.3bn ($16.6m), which was financed partly by Univer Product, bank loans, and a government subsidy.

Through the Ministry of National Economy’s Enterprise Investment support programme, the Government of Hungary provided a non-refundable subsidy of ft2.1bn (approximately $8m) to support the plant’s construction.

Marketing commentary on Univer Product

Univer Product is engaged in production and marketing food products including jams, condiments, fruit juices, seasonings, baby food, and vegetables.

With more than 660 employees, Univer Product operates five tomato processing plants. Products made by the company are exported to the US, Canada, and a number of European countries including Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Serbia.

Univer Group was established in 1948 and has an employee base of 1,300 people. The Group operates through Univer Product, Alföld, Univer, Univer Szövetkezeti, and Univer Coop divisions.

The share of tomato concentrate in Univer’s revenues is expected to increase from 7% and 19% in its total output over the next eight years.