Meat, fruits and vegetables, dairy, seafood, flowers, and vaccines. All these have one thing in common: they are all perishable products that require to be transported in cold temperatures so that they can remain fresh and usable by consumers.
This process is called cold chain management, which service providers use in the food and health industry. The food that the public consumes goes through careful preparation, storage, and transportation process before they even reach the merchant stores. This is important, now more than ever, because of the ever-rising demands for fresh goods in the market.
The cold chain is an important logistical process that makes it possible for temperature-sensitive food products to reach consumers in the best condition. Find out how this process allows food products from all over the world to be delivered and kept fresh through innovations in logistics:
From Farms and Storage Units
It takes an average of three months to plant, cultivate, and grow food, which is then harvested by service providers' farmers. Animals, on the other hand, can take a minimum of one year to fully mature before their meat can be taken as a commodity. These products are then packaged and stored in a refrigerated facility, where they will remain until they have to be transported to various destinations.
Food products need to be packaged properly so that the risks of spoilage or contamination will be lessened. Strategic packaging can also help service providers maximize the storage capacity of their equipment. The common storage equipment includes cold rooms, blast freezers, cold boxes, or chillers.
Once the products are prepared for transport, they will be taken by distributors and shipped off to their according destinations through specialized vehicles. Cold chain products can be transported through refrigerator vans or trucks on land, reefer containers on ships, or cargo units on air.
On the Road, Water, or Air
For most local distributions, refrigerated trucks are the go-to mode of transportation for food products. But for regional and international distributions, other transportation modes are considered. This is where the cold chain process is vital. Perishable food needs to be in a temperature-controlled environment so that the freshness of the products is preserved.
If there are any transportation problems, the food will be spoiled and wasted, costing money for both the service providers and their clients. There are many cargo tracking solutions available in the market that can ensure you, as a provider, that your shipments are safe and on schedule.
You can also opt to use data logging technologies to help your business during quality assurance and cold chain monitoring. Such technology can assist you in maintaining the efficiency of your cold chain logistics and notify you of any issues regarding the quality of your products during the process.
To Tables of Consumers
The last point in the cold chain process is the delivery of goods to their according destinations. This can be anywhere from supermarkets, groceries, or local merchants where people can buy fresh goods. But there are still hurdles to jump over during this final leg.
Product handling is an important aspect of the cold chain process. It makes sure that the products are handled in the most efficient way possible so that the products' freshness is maintained. This is made possible by using shipping crates and boxes with conveyor belt systems.
Proper packaging, storing, delivering, handling, and selling. When done right, all these processes can assure you that the quality of your products isn't degraded at any point because they were kept in the right temperature and environment.
Maintaining the quality of the food products during this entire process is, ultimately, the goal of all food service providers. All these steps are taken to ensure that no money is wasted, no food is spoiled, no partnerships are broken, and no consumer is left dissatisfied.
Knowing the importance that efficient cold chain management plays in running a business in the food industry can lead you to make more informed decisions later on. Pinpointing areas for improvement and processes that you can streamline in logistics can also be a great way of dealing with cold chain management.
You can even include reducing operating costs, improving efficiency, and opting for more environment-friendly processes as goals for when you develop your business further. The cold chain process always has room for improvement because it's an industry that will never die due to the endless supply of mouths to feed and consumers demanding goods in the market.