Optical Sorter Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

Optical Sorter Market is segmented by Type (Hardware, Software), End-User Industry (Food, Recycling, Mining), and Geography.

Market Snapshot

Optical Sorter Market Size
Study Period: 2018- 2026
Base Year: 2021
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: 10 %
Optical Sorter Market Major Players

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Market Overview

The optical sorter market is expected to register a CAGR of 10% over the forecast period (2021-2026).

The nationwide lockdowns imposed across the globe have forced the shutdown of fast-food outlets and restaurants, which has adversely disrupted consumers’ food-shopping habits. Hence, food companies, such as TOMRA Food is reaching out to vegetable processors to help them tackle the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is resulting in the highlighting of the capabilities of optical sorting and steam peeling machines, combined with other processing technologies, which may prove to be beneficial during the pandemic.

  • Depending upon the color, shape, size, and chemical composition, optical sorters sort out the products that do not match with the standards set in the database. The increasing initiatives by the government and the related regulatory bodies for maintaining strict standards for food quality are expected to drive the demand for optical sorters over the forecast period.
  • In January 2019, FSSAI announced its focus on enforcing new food quality standards that were set in 2018 and notified 27 new regulations for food standards. Some of the key regulations include the ones on alcoholic beverages, food fortification, advertising and claims, packaging, residues of pesticides, tolerance limits of antibiotics and pharmacologically active substances.
  • Also, the growing need for removing the delivery & processing time is another significant factor driving the market demand. When compared to manual sorting that is subjective and inconsistent, optical sorting helps improve product quality, maximize throughput and increase yields while reducing labor costs.
  • The challenge for the food processing plants using sorting systems is that the feedstock is often not uniform. This has created the need for deployment of AI-enabled systems that can continuously improve sorting mechanisms.
  • Further, the continuous introduction of new hardware and software components is expected to increase the utility of optical sorting systems generating new opportunities in multiple end-user industries. In Jun 2021, Satake announced the launch of its latest optical sorter: "NIRAMI series". The company’s latest high specification Optical Sorter has been designed to efficiently sort pulses, grains, seeds among other products.

Scope of the Report

The optical sorter is an automated process that enables the user to sort solid products using cameras and or lasers or sensors and software-driven intelligence of the image processing system. It recognizes objects' color, size, shape, structural properties, and chemical composition. The study segments the market by Type (Hardware, Software), End-User Industry (Food, Recycling, Mining), and Geography.

By Type
By End-user Industries
Other End-user Industries
North America
Rest of the World

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Key Market Trends

Food Industry is Expected to Gain Demand Momentum owing to Evolving Regulations

  • The food processing industry is expected to exhibit the maximum application of the optical sorters. Optical sorting is an automated process of sorting various food commodities including agricultural seeds, grains, nuts, coffee, confectionery products, fruit, meat, and seafood, etc. Optical sorters help the food industry to significantly reduce the risk of contamination from any foreign material, increasing food safety on the production line, food processors, and manufacturers.
  • The demand for optical sorters in the food industry is augmented by the growing need for increasing the production capacity by reducing delivery and process time considerably. Furthermore, governments of different regions are becoming increasingly concerned regarding food safety. For instance, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued revised food safety standards in October 2019, for state regulatory programs that oversee food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold foods.
  • The sensor-based optical sorters have the ability to consistently detect and remove foreign material, unwanted rot, greening defects, blemishes, and damage. This ensures higher yields and a safer, higher quality final product going to consumers. These technologies help to improve food quality and food safety, thus augmenting the adoption of optical sorters in the food industry. The sorting machines also increase processing capacity and lower the labor costs involved by automating the whole food processing, while producing food of the highest quality and safety standards.
  • However, the installation cost of the machine is quite high which can act as a constraint to the adoption of optical sorters in the food industry. Also, the operation and maintenance costs involved are high and can increase the cost of the final product.
  • As the Global demand for meat rises worldwide, so must the production of meat. Most of the world’s meat is produced in Asia. Pork and Poultry are the most widely produced types of meat, with sheep being the least produced. The global rise in the demand and the production of meat creates a direct demand for Optical Sorter units and Systems so as to maintain the food quality and standards.
Optical Sorter Market Share

North America to Witness in Holding the Major Share

  • The region is home to some of the major players in the optical sorter industry such as National Recovery Technologies, Llc, Cimbria A/S, and many more which are continuously investing in the building up and advancing their infrastructure to keep pace with the technological advancements and the stringent regulations. This is expected to boost the adoption of optical sorters over the forecast period.
  • The key factors driving the growth of this market are the growing focus on automation to increase productivity, increasing need to reduce process and delivery time in the food industry, rising labor costs, and emerging stringent government regulations regarding food safety.
  • The Optical sorter market for freefall platforms is expected to hold the largest share during the forecast period. Freefall-based platforms are most suitable for food (nuts and berries as well as frozen and dried fruits, vegetables, potato strips, and seafood) and waste recycling applications. The advantages of a freefall sorter in comparison to a belt sorter is its lower price, size (occupies a smaller area), and the absence of moving parts such as the belt, which contribute to its low maintenance.
  • In recent years, many developed countries like United States have introduced specific recycling and environmental performance targets aimed at encouraging people to recycle waste. Optical sorters sort reusable materials by separating them from the waste stream and which can be used as raw materials for new products.
  • Some of the prominent players in the region are entering into a partnership that has allowed them to not only develop the technology but also expand their footprint in the market. This would boost the market growth over the forecast period in the region.
Optical Sorter Market Growth

Competitive Landscape

The competitive rivalry in the optical sorter market is high owing to the presence of some key players such as Bühler Holding AG, Key Technology Inc(A Duravant Company), amongst others. Through research and development, the players in the market have been able to bring about innovations in their offerings thereby allowing them to gain a competitive advantage over others. These players have been involved in strategic partnerships, mergers & acquisitions that have allowed them to gain a stronger footprint in the market.

  • March 2021 - TOMRA introduced the TOMRA ACT, which is a new user interface, together with a new image processing pipeline and additional process data for TOMRA Insight, primarily enabling improvements in the overall sorting process for greater productivity and profitability.
  • October 2020 - Satake USA launched its latest optical sorter FMSR-IR at the Pack Expo Las Vegas. A new FMSR-IR series is an all-in-one machine with Satake’s latest RGB technology, IR, and shape-sorting capabilities all together in 1 machine to remove unwanted products such as discoloration, foreign materials, and irregular-shape defects from products such as tree nuts, dry beans, corn, seeds, and plastics.
  • October 2020 - Key Technology (US) launched VERYX BioPrint digital sorter. The sorter can combine near-infrared (NIR) hyperspectral detection with color cameras. Furthermore, it analyzes a richer set of data about the materials it is sorting to improve detection performance and maximize process yield.

Recent Developments

  • April 2021 - Viridor and TOMRA announced that they have formed a partnership that will bring extensive recycling expertise and experience together in a bid for the design, build, and operation of the Scottish deposit return scheme (DRS) counting and sorting centers. The counting and sorting centers will be representing a critical part of the infrastructure that is required to underpin the efficient and accurate functioning of the DRS.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis​

      1. 4.2.1 Threat of New Entrants​

      2. 4.2.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers

      3. 4.2.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers​

      4. 4.2.4 Threat of Substitutes​

      5. 4.2.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry​

    3. 4.3 Assessment of COVID-19 impact on the industry​


    1. 5.1 Market Drivers

      1. 5.1.1 Increasing Demand for Reducing the Delivery and Processing Time

      2. 5.1.2 Stringent Regulations Regarding the Food Quality and Labor Costs

    2. 5.2 Market Challenges

      1. 5.2.1 High Maintenance Cost of the Equipment


    1. 6.1 By Type

      1. 6.1.1 Hardware

      2. 6.1.2 Software

    2. 6.2 By End-user Industries

      1. 6.2.1 Food

      2. 6.2.2 Recycling

      3. 6.2.3 Mining

      4. 6.2.4 Other End-user Industries

    3. 6.3 Geography

      1. 6.3.1 North America

      2. 6.3.2 Europe

      3. 6.3.3 Asia-Pacific

      4. 6.3.4 Rest of the World



      1. 7.1.1 TOMRA Sorting ASA

      2. 7.1.2 Eagle Vision Inc

      3. 7.1.3 Bühler Holding AG

      4. 7.1.4 Key Technology Inc. (Duravant Company)

      5. 7.1.5 MSS, Inc. (CP Manufacturing, Inc.)

      6. 7.1.6 KEN Bratney Co.

      7. 7.1.7 Hefei Meyer Optoelectronic Technology Inc.

      8. 7.1.8 Machinex Industries Inc.

      9. 7.1.9 Raytec Vision Spa

      10. 7.1.10 Cimbria AS (AGCO Corporation)

      11. 7.1.11 Van Wamel BV

      12. 7.1.12 Satake Corporation

      13. 7.1.13 National Recovery Technologies, Llc

      14. 7.1.14 Sesotec GmbH



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Frequently Asked Questions

The Optical Sorter Market market is studied from 2018 - 2026.

The Optical Sorter Market is growing at a CAGR of 10% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

North America holds highest share in 2021.

TOMRA Sorting AS, Bühler Holding AG, Cimbria A/S, National Recovery Technologies, LLC, Key Technology Inc. (Duravant Company) are the major companies operating in Optical Sorter Market.

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