Hydroponic Produce Grower Saves Green With Improved Traceability

Centralized marking brings improved barcodes and traceability to Pete’s Living Greens.

Pete’s Living Greens serves big-box retailers and prepares for growth by upgrading to a centralized marking and coding system. Resulting benefits include increased efficiency, improved traceability, fewer quality holds and rejects, and an overall better customer experience.


See how Pete’s Living Greens improved traceability and efficiency in this 3-minute video case study.


Pete’s Living Greens (Pete’s), founded as Hollandia Produce, had issues with its date printing equipment causing barcode readability issues on the cases of hydroponic butter lettuce grown in their facility. Poorly printed barcodes created the potential for Pete’s product to be held up in quality holds or rejected entirely by their customers, including large retailers like Walmart and Kroger. Traceability also became an issue with the outdated technology of their current marking system, which was unable to integrate with their data system. 


“We were not entirely satisfied with our existing products. They were older. And we knew that with all the changes coming in the world of product traceability, we needed something that could accommodate those changes for the future.” – Paul Zemjanis, IT & Data Specialist, Pete’s Living Greens


Pete’s engaged Matthews Marking Systems (Matthews) for a marking and coding solution that resolved its print quality issues and its need to ensure complete product traceability. The Matthews team worked directly with Pete’s production management team to fully understand their needs and specific requirements. They came up with a solution that included MPERIA® L-Series Thermal Inkjet Printers (TIJ), all controlled from the easy-to-use MPERIA platform and controller. Integrating data from their business system with MPERIA provides additional assurance that products can be successfully traced in the event of a recall or related issue. Not only does this keep them from potentially incurring compliance fines, but it instills additional confidence in their customers reselling their products.


The Challenge

Ed Alvarez, Head of Technology at Pete’s, had genuine concerns about the performance of the printing equipment on the production line. Poor print quality led to rework, product scrap, and rejection of Pete’s butter lettuce cases by customers due to the information printed on their PTI (product traceability initiative) label being unreadable.


“I noticed when I first got here…that the barcode quality of our previous product was very poor.” – Ed Alvarez, IT Manager, Pete’s Living Greens


In addition to needing better print quality of the marks, Pete’s also required the ability to track and trace its products. Not only as a company that prided itself on quality but also to stay current with FDA traceability requirements. Integrating their database with their marking technology was critical to making this happen.

The Solution

Matthews solved Pete’s print quality issues and made integrating data from its business system easy with the MPERIA platform and controller and MPERIA L-Series L-50 Thermal Inkjet Printers.


The MPERIA L-Series L50 printheads drastically improved barcode readability on Pete’s cartons of butter lettuce, with consistent, high-resolution marks. The installation of the L-Series L-50 printheads led to a significant decline in product rework and scrap. It increased satisfaction and confidence in Pete’s production team that their carton marks were living up to the same high quality that their company’s produce is known for.


“It was clear to me from the first demo that [barcode quality] was one of the strengths of the [Matthews] product.” – Ed Alvarez


The MPERIA Platform and Standard Controller streamlined operations and reduced the risk of accidental human error by allowing print management, message creation, editing, and marking data flow from one central location. MPERIA also lets Pete’s successfully trace its products in the event of a recall or related issue, preventing them from potentially incurring compliance fines or losing customer confidence in the quality of its products.

Women working on line Pete's Living Green Case on Production Line L-Series printing on Petes box Close up of mark on case

Improved print quality.

Pete’s achieved improved print quality with the Matthews L-Series L50 printheads. The L50s provide Pete’s the ability to print crisp 2” marks and on its cartons of butter lettuce. With easily readable marks, Pete’s was able to confidently print their traceability barcodes and product information to help their customers in distribution and reduce scrap and rework.


“The print quality is excellent. The software is fantastic. It’s the best I’ve worked with.” – Paul Zemjanis


Easy to use software. 

The all-in-one MPERIA platform and controller gave Pete’s a single point of contact to control their production line. With MPERIA’s easy integration, data from Pete’s business system can automatically print on every case to reduce coding errors and increase overall efficiency. They can also add new printers and devices at any time without needing to purchase additional controllers, MPERIA allows them to quickly scale their operation while maintaining centralized control from one controller.


“Matthew’s system [is] very good. Employees like it, specifically the MPERIA controller. Very simple to use. Very, very intuitive. I can’t say enough about it. Really, really good.” – Sean Melgoza, Logistics and Warehouse Manager, Pete’s Living Greens


Unparalleled customer service.

The MMS team partnered with Ed and his team to find a solution that would best suit their needs, solve the issues they were encountering, and provide them with in-person support during installation and after.


“My experience with Matthews has been very good, and they were very helpful during the installation. Anytime we’ve had any questions or concerns afterwards, they’ve always been very quick to respond. It’s got all the flexibility I want. It’s got the capabilities I want. It’s a good product.” – Paul Zemjanis



Pete's Living Greens Results


The Results

Pete’s experienced immediate improvement in the quality of the barcodes printed on their cartons with the L-Series marking systems.

Less rework and scrap mean employees spend more time focused on the tasks adding value to the production process. And management has renewed confidence that the products shipped to their distributors for accounts like Walmart and Kroger would not be subject to quality holds or rejection.

Centralized management of marking data and integration into Pete’s business data system enabled efficiency gains on the production line and gave Pete’s peace of mind in its traceability initiative. And all the employees appreciated the intuitive nature of using the MPERIA controller; they were up and running in no time and did not require technical training to become comfortable interacting with it, saving time and money. 



About Pete’s Living Greens:

Founded in 1970 under the name Hollandia Produce, Pete’s Living Greens is the California-based, employee-owned, and operated leader in hydroponically grown living greens, using up to 85% less water and 70% less land than traditional growers. Every vegetable from Pete’s Living Greens is grown in state-of-the-art greenhouses where light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients are controlled, increasing crop yields and year-round availability.

Best known for its line of Living Butter Lettuce, Pete’s Living Greens offers consumers the highest-quality produce possible with their roots still intact, allowing consumers to enjoy long-lasting farm-fresh flavor right from the store. All of Pete’s Living Greens products are sustainably grown without the use of GMOs or harmful insecticides and packaged in the brand’s award-winning, 100% recyclable signature clear clamshell that acts as a mini-greenhouse to reduce damage, shrinkage, and contaminants.


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