Shortly about the project I-CON 

The South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Nonprofit Ltd. (STRIA) is partner of the INTERREG Central Europe Program I-CON project from 1st June of 2016. The project  aim is to develop the competence and skills of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in the food sector by means of food innovations. Through the international exchange of experience, the European Union has developed a training program based on practical examples of food industry companies through successful good practices.


The fruit and vegetable processing in Kisvejke – As good practice in Central Europe


Völgység Kincse Social Cooperative (Völgység Kincse means “Treasure of Völgység” where Völgység indicates a subregional territory located in the East-Mecsek Hills and at southern parts of Tolna county) located at Kisvejke, Hungary is a fruit and vegetable processing food industry company based on traditional rules and economic operation models of cooperatives.

Its main activities is fruit/vegetable processing/pressing for its members and for third parties based on external contracts, manufacturing of own products and selling those, also retailing further (non-food) local handcraft products of the Völgység sub-region. Main products of the cooperative are apple, apricot, pear, cherry, sour cherry, carrot, beetroot, buckthorn, herbs fruit, vegetable, fruit-vegetable juices made with 100% pure fruit/vegetable content, without using any preservatives or additives. The raw material of these products are cultivated and harvested at different local farms and plantations at a cumulated size of 300 hectares. Main markets of Völgység Kincse products are domestic: the main Hungarian cities (Budapest, Győr, Miskolc, Pécs), and occasionally foreign markets.

The fruit and vegetable processing started in 2012, it is organized in three shifts in peak agricultural periods and lasts long after that, typically until March-April of the forthcoming year. As the cooperative is of social nature, it is enhanced to support the local unemployed or those people who are in disadvantaged social situation. The provision of the local workforce, beside the mentioned motivations, is still challenging. On the very first recruiting event from 22 people seven were chosen who were equally motivated and skilled as well. These colleagues were further trained on fruit processing, refrigeration industry skills and knowledge on different herbs. It is also worth mentioning that Kisvejke is located in a rather isolated, outer periphery of Baranya and Tolna counties, and the coach public transport service should be better aligned with the mobility needs of the workers of the cooperative commuting from different settlements outside Kisvejke to the manufactory.


The logo and the entrance of the office and of the manufactory (left)

A shift of apple pressing at Völgység Kincse Social Cooperative (right)

Source: STRIA photo taken on 31 March 2017. (left), Tolna Megyei Értéktár (right)

The production line in operation at Völgység Kincse is at the same time traditional and of handcafted nature. The cooperative provides its pressing/processing services with the use of the technology available for its members and third parties, too. The raw material brought by members/third parties is at the first stage selected and cleaned. The following phase is the pressing, which is followed by the pasteurizing. The process is closed with packaging in bag in box, sleeve pockets or glasses. The technological line, despite being very simple, is controlled by a central IT module which registers the raw material, production, final product flows, is also able to keep track of the energy consumption, and take account of the stock of products for selling at the retail shop or by further channels.

At the beginnings of the establishment of the cooperative, besides the social employment provided for the needy, the utilization of the agricultural workforce for collecting the fallen apples usable for pressing was also considered. Given the fact the Kisvejke is home to high quality rural fruit production and plant (especially vegetable) production, the farmers looked for opportunities to pressing fruit and vegetable juices, along their special juice recipes developed by the assistance of Toldi Miklós Food Industry Vocational School at Nagykőrös, South Great Plain region. Finally the Voran (from Austria) technology was chosen to be operated. This is made up of one elevator with pivoting centrifugal mill, one packing press with rotary cage. Following comes the heat treatment of the fruit/vegetable juice using a 530 liters container, and the packaging (Voran bag in box) machine closes the line.

About the VORAN machines in use you may obtain more technical information from the website of the producer: 



The elevator-centrifugal mill (left) – packing press (right) at the manufactory

Source: STRIA photo taken on 31 March 2017. (left, right)


The pasteurizing unit (left) – bag in box packaging unit (right) at the manufactory

Source: STRIA photo taken on 31 March 2017. (left, right)


Project foundation

The projects of Interreg Central Europe go beyond borders to make central European cities and regions stronger and more competitive.  Transnational project ideas related to urban and regional innovation, CO2 reduction, natural and cultural resources or transport.

The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.

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