FRUIT LOGISTICA Presents 2024 Innovation Awards

Originally printed in the May 2024 issue of Produce Business.

Not one, but two awards were presented at FRUIT LOGISTICA earlier this year for innovations in the fresh produce sector.

In addition to the annual FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award (FLIA), which went to Unica Fresh for its Zucchiolo variety, this was the first time a prize was given honoring innovations in machinery and technology. The Dutch company Koppert won the FLIA Technology for its new Mirical packaging concept.

“By presenting two awards in different categories, we are able to focus even more on the industry’s drive for innovation,” says Kaasten Reh, director of events and awards at Fruitnet Media International.
Trade visitors at FRUIT LOGISTICA 2024, which took place Feb. 7-9 in Berlin, Germany, voted for their favorite product, and the awards were presented at the event.


Zucchini on the outside, cucumber on the inside: The Zucchiolo made the biggest impression on trade visitors at FRUIT LOGISTICA, winning over half of the votes. The Zucchiolo is not, as one might imagine, a new zucchini variety, but a vegetable representing a completely new product category on the European market.

The Zucchiolo by Unica Fresh (Spain) made the biggest impression on trade visitors at FRUIT LOGISTICA 2024 and won the FLIA.

It can be consumed fresh and raw in a salad, similar to a cucumber, or cooked like a zucchini or eggplant. It is rich in fiber, vitamins A and C and antioxidants. The vegetable is tasty, and, at the same time, revenues are being donated to charity. Fifty percent of the sales income is going to social causes, such as fighting cancer.

“The Innovation Awards of the FRUIT LOGISTICA are truly an honor. It’s a motivating push for all professionals in the industry to wake up every morning and pursue what we love most: adding value to our farmers’ crops,” says Andrea Álvarez, business development manager at Unica Fresh.


The newly introduced FLIA Technology went to the Dutch company Koppert for its Mirical packaging concept. The Mirical (Macrolophus pygmaeus) predatory bug combats whitefly, which frequently infests greenhouse vegetables. Instead of using plastic, Koppert now supplies these predatory bugs in corrugated cardboard strips and a cardboard tray, which are both attached directly to the plants. As well as making the predatory bug more effective, Kopper’s packaging concept also means the product is fully compostable.

The Mirical packaging concept by Koppert (Netherlands) won the FLIA Technology, presented for the first time at FRUIT LOGISTICA 2024.

“We are excited that our evolution with something simple, such as cardboard strips, gained the award,” says Tim Bossinga, product manager of biologicals at Koppert.


Close to 70 companies submitted their entries for the awards in 2024. “Our panel of experts had quite a job to pick the 10 best from a field of outstanding ideas and practical innovations,” says Reh.

In addition to the two winners, final nominees (FILA Innovation nominees are the first four listed) included:

Compact asparagus peeling machine: Asparagus can lay claim to being Germany’s most popular vegetable, which is why Germany-based Hepro has designed the world’s smallest asparagus peeling machine. Covering an area of 0.34 m², it peels a standard commercial quantity in under a minute and uses an individually defined cutting pattern depending on the thickness of the asparagus to ensure perfect peeling results.

Precise overview of crop yields: How big will the harvest be? Crop Load Vision is a mobile app from Croptracker that collects numbers. Using a mobile phone, it captures the crop size and fruit count and produces a real-time result.

Fully automatic AI-controlled vegetable trimmer: 80% labor reduction, 20% less waste. The fully automatic Wyma Roto-Cut vegetable trimmer is the first of its kind to use a combination of optical technology, smart recognition system and AI to remove foliage, crowns and stalks.

Exoskeleton provides extra support: German Bionic is the first European company to design and manufacture an intelligent exoskeleton. The Apogee robotic exosuit assists those working in physically demanding jobs.

A visibly perfect avocado, fresh for 30 days: No brown spots or any other unwanted surprises after peeling — Infuseo’s Naked Avocado range now presents three avocado halves in transparent packaging, fresh and ready-to-eat. Harvested at just the right moment, the fruit has a 30-day refrigerated shelf life and is free from preservatives, acidifiers and additives.

Parthenocarpy produces perfect squash: Frutastic is an innovative squash variety from Gautier Semences that is highly parthenocarpic (fruit production without pollination) and extremely adaptable to various indoor growing environments. This ensures reliable crop yields and high-quality fruit production, even under difficult growing conditions, while its appearance fulfills every market expectation.

A volleyball-sized watermelon: For consumers in a small household, the average watermelon is simply too large. By contrast, an Exceed mini watermelon weighs an average of 5.7 pounds, is slightly larger than a volleyball and can easily fit into a small fridge. It is also seedless and crisp in flavor.

Full-flavored sweet onions: British grower Alastair Findlay worked for 30 years to create the perfect sweet onion: Eating a Calypso is as normal as taking a bite out of an apple. Findlay was able to reduce the variety’s pungency to a minimum, allowing its natural sweetness to shine, while it retains the typical flavor of an onion. The skin is a deep red, while the flesh itself is pink and crunchy. And crying when peeling is now a thing of the past.

At FRUIT LOGISTICA 2024, more than 2,770 exhibitors from 94 countries displayed their products, services and technical solutions. Some 66,000 buyers and trade visitors from 145 countries took part in the event. The next FRUIT LOGISTICA will take place from Feb. 5-7, 2025, in Berlin.