Sackett Ranch meets the high standards of the USA’s most popular potato chip brand by using TOMRA sorters

Since acquiring TOMRA sorting machines, Michigan-based potato grower Sackett Ranch has decreased labor-dependence and increased product quality

Sackett Ranch meets the high standards of the USA’s most popular potato chip brand by using TOMRA sorters.jpg
15 March, 2024

The Sackett family has been growing potatoes in Michigan for six generations since first planting 20 acres of the crop in 1905. Today, Sackett Ranch covers more than 8,200 acres (3,320 hectares), with more than 3,800 acres (1,540 hectares) dedicated to growing potatoes for the potato chip industry. The farm also grows seed corn, field corn, soy beans, and wheat.

Sackett Ranch sells by far the majority of its potatoes, some 80%, to top potato-chip brands in the U.S., and has to meet strict quality guidelines. No more than 2% of potatoes shipped to plants are permitted to be green, undersized, oversized, or with external defects. Meeting these standards is difficult or impossible, as well as time-consuming, when sorting manually. Since their investment in the TOMRA 3A and TOMRA 5A optical sorting machines, Sackett Ranch has found it easy to meet the quality standards by pressing a few buttons on a touchscreen.

The TOMRA 3A optical sorter is designed to remove foreign materials from harvested potatoes, and capable of handling up to 100 tons (120 short tons) per hour. At Sackett Ranch, this machine effectively eliminates foreign materials such as stones, corn cobs, and dirt clods, as well as green potatoes, directly from the field. It also solves the problems of recruitment and retention that potato growers often struggle with when depending on manual sorters.

The TOMRA 5A is a premium bulk sorting and size grader that’s very popular with potato processors. Heavy-duty, high-capacity, and high-performance, this machine detects and ejects products that are misshapen, over- or under-sized, or spoiled by rot, mold, or discoloration. At Sackett Ranch the TOMRA 5A is used for a final inspection, categorizing the potatoes by size and quality while removing green and undesirable potatoes to within the 2% threshold.

Luke Parr, Farm Manager at Sackett Ranch, said:

“The TOMRA machines have solved our labor problems. If I wasn’t using a TOMRA product, I’d be scrambling every morning to find people, waiting to see who shows up and who doesn’t. Now we need just a few people. You just turn the switch on and you’re running. Before we used TOMRA, we used to ship in the morning until 10.00-10.30 because I had to wait for employees. Now we can pick up an extra three hours and can do multiple processes at the same time without having to wait for personnel.”

The other big benefit of using TOMRA’s sorters, Luke reports:

“Is increased quality. Our customers benefit. And I can set the size profile of each load going into them. We know exactly how much green, foreign material there is, per field and per bin, and we can grade-out scab more precisely than with the human eye. With manual labor, we were getting out roughly 60% of all the foreign material; now we get close to 90%. And it’s easy: the TOMRA 3A and TOMRA 5A have the same user interface, so programming is the same on both.”

Luke has no hesitation on recommending TOMRA’s sorting solutions to other potato growers, saying that Sackett Ranch’s investment in these machines has paid back with a win-win: both the grower and the grower’s customers have benefited.


About TOMRA Food

TOMRA Food designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions transforming global food production to maximize food safety and minimize food loss, by making sure Every Resource Counts TM .

The company has more than 13,800 units installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world for Confectionery, Fruit, Dried fruit, Grains and Seeds, Potatoes, Proteins, Nuts, and Vegetables.

These solutions include advanced grading, sorting, peeling and analytical technology to help businesses improve returns, gain operational efficiencies, and ensure a safe food supply.

TOMRA Food operates centers of excellence, regional offices and manufacturing locations within the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Follow TOMRA Food on Facebook @TOMRA.Food, X @TOMRAFood, Instagram @TOMRAFood, LinkedIn at TOMRA Food and YouTube at TOMRA Food..

TOMRA Food is a division of TOMRA Group. TOMRA was founded in 1972 that began with the design, manufacturing and sale of reverse vending machines (RVMs) for automated collection of used beverage containers.

Today, TOMRA is leading the resource revolution to transform how the planet’s resources are obtained, used and reused to enable a world without waste. The company’s other business divisions are TOMRA Recycling and TOMRA Collection.

TOMRA has approximately 105,000 installations in over 100 markets worldwide and had total revenues of about 12 billion NOK in 2022. The Group employs 5,000 globally and is publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The company headquarters are in Asker, Norway.

For further information about TOMRA, visit


More information


Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea