Labeling for Produce Packaging

Leading Citrus Grower Achieves Win-Win-Win with New Automated Print and Apply Labeling Solution: Productivity, Quality, and Scalability

One of California’s largest citrus growers implements new automated print and apply labeler to improve productivity, dramatically reduce quality control issues, and set themselves up for future growth

Looking to improve productivity and eliminate daily quality control issues, Sunkist co-op member, Bagdasarian, turned to Matthews Marking Systems for an automated print & apply labeling solution that was faster, more accurate, and easier to manage than their legacy system.


Sunkist® is a leading international citrus supplier with more than 120 years of success to its name. This industry giant is the oldest continually operating not-for-profit citrus cooperative in America and the largest marketing cooperative in the world’s fruit and vegetable industry. Richard Bagdasarian, Inc. is a family-owned and operated grower, shipper, and marketer; one of California’s largest growers of California table grapes and citrus; and a member of the Sunkist cooperative. Bagdasarian implemented Matthews’ MPERIA®️ Print and Apply Automatic Labeling Solution to resolve speed and quality control issues with their legacy labeling system.

As a result, the operation was able to achieve:
+ Higher Speed and Efficiency
+ Error-proof Production
+ Increased Scalability

The Challenge

Bagdasarian has established a national presence in the fruit and vegetable industry. As such, they have a critical need for efficiency and error-proof labeling. Unfortunately, their legacy labeling system created two primary challenges:

Lack of Speed
Supporting this large market requires a high level of efficiency and the ability to safely package and accurately label large volumes of product. To meet their production rate, Bagdasarian needed equipment and systems that could sustain a speed of 60 prints per minute. Unfortunately, their existing solution could only manage 50 prints per minute.

Quality Control Issues
The lackluster performance of their existing labeling solution created severe quality control issues resulting in daily headaches for operation managers. Boxes were routinely coming off the line with no label or a label intended for the next box. Missing or inaccurate information forced the quality manager to pull product for a re-run through the production line. “As the saying goes, ‘time is money,’ and we were losing a lot of time,” says Michael Bozick, Assistant VP at Bagdasarian. “Having to constantly pull mislabeled and nonlabeled product off the line negatively impacted our productivity almost every day.”

Bagdasarian’s existing provider was willing to explore a new solution, but they did not have the technology to increase speed. Their proposed work around was viable only if Bagdasarian agreed to implement costly system upgrades. This was not an appealing option for Bagdasarian.

The Solution

Bagdasarian took advantage of a much more efficient and cost-effective solution with Matthews’ MPERIA® Print and Apply Automatic Labeling Series Solution, which checked all the boxes on Bagdasarian’s wish list:

An All-in-one Solution Featuring Leading Technology and Design
The Matthews solution encapsulates a complete system; including a printer, vision system, and MPERIA controller – all the features needed to ensure a quick installation, easy operation, and the highest level of safety. For their operation, Bagdasarian paired the T43 Printer with a pneumatic applicator with Thermal Transfer Technology that uses a wax/resin ribbon to provide an indelible mark on the label. This particular technology is especially well suited for situations that expose labels to rough handling or a long shelf life.

Greater Production Speed and Ease of Operation
Running at 8” per second, Matthew’s MPERIA solution is not only much faster than the legacy system, it also easily keeps pace with Bagdasarian’s production rate. Equally important, MPERIA’s simple, intuitive, and user-centric design enables extremely easy and fast consumable changes. Ink, labels, and the print head can be swapped by production line workers. Details like a magnetically attached print head and clear paths to consumable parts make these tasks nearly effortless.

Fast and Simple Implementation
The overall implementation of the system is equally as simple and efficient. The MPERIA system’s small footprint, flexible mounting systems, and pre-loaded test layouts take the heavy lifting and guesswork out of installation and set up. In all, the process took only two days (as compared to the competitor’s estimate of more than a week), and did not require any changes to Bagdasarian’s production lines. “The entire implementation process was simple, straightforward, and fast,” says Bozick. “There was no inconvenience and minimal disruption to operations. We were back up and running in no time.”

The Results

Matthews’ MPERIA print & apply labeling solution solved Bagdasarian’s initial problem and provided additional benefits as well.

Higher Speed & Efficiency
The MPERIA system easily kept pace with Bagdasarian’s production rate. Furthermore, the reduction in time required to change consumables like ink and labels had a big impact on overall line efficiency.

Error-proof Production
The increased speed of the MPERIA system enabled a massive reduction in quality control issues. The improvement in productivity helped the bottom line while simultaneously contributing to better employee morale as constant rework was eliminated. In addition, the MPERIA system helped remove confusion caused by label exceptions. In cases where the product does not require a case label, MPERIA applies a blank label to mark the product as an exception.

Increased Scalability
Finally, installing MPERIA gave Bagdasarian the ability to increase production by 30% when they are ready to grow their operation. “We felt the benefits of Matthews’ solution immediately,” says Bozick. “The additional speed and efficiency combined with the drastic reduction in quality control issues really improved productivity, and also made our team’s day-to-day lives much easier and less stressful.” The project was so successful, that Sunkist has plans to implement the MPERIA solution in all 37 of the packaging plants within their cooperative. They believe that Matthews’ technologically superior solution has the ability to solve critical productivity and quality issues while also providing a flexible, scalable solution that can grow with each operation.


About Sunkist

Founded in 1893, Sunkist is one of the world’s leading international citrus suppliers. Their structure as a nonprofit cooperative gives member growers clout in a competitive worldwide market. Sunkist is a billion dollar a year organization comprised of many California- and Arizona-based family farms.


Richard Bagdasarian, Inc. is one of the largest growers of California Table Grapes and citrus. Incorporated in 1952, the company remains family owned and operated— providing top quality produce from their farm in Coachella Valley, California to customers all across the country.