Reach New Markets Using New Logistics Options
Improvements in packaging and in the door-to-door on-time delivery are making intermodal food industry storage and shipping practical, and the growth of reefer services are opening international markets to an increasing range of products.
Frozen foods, and produce with long shelf lives (like potatoes, onions and citrus), are natural candidates for intermodal and international shipping, but confections, dairy, wines and bottled water can benefit from intermodal transportation’s lower line haul costs and lower fuel surcharges, and larger international markets. Success isn’t simply a matter of signing a contract and shipping the product, however. Instead, success also depends upon ensuring that the products arrive in the same good condition as when they left. That requires monitoring temperatures at the pallet level.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, in the United States, 12 percent of produce, 9.5 percent of seafood, and 4 percent of meat spoils during distribution and retail operations. Many of those issues involve temperature. Seafood , for example, whould be shipped at 32°F to safeguard its flavor, texture, appearance, and aroma. According to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, “Product shelf life is cut in half by every 10°F. increase in temperature.”
One of the biggest mistakes food shippers make is using refrigerated van or reefer to bring products to temperature during transportation, rather than pre-chilling the items. Packaging experts warn that items in the center of a room temperature carton or pallet placed in a refrigerated container may take up to four days to chill to the proper temperature, shortening shelf life and allowing pathogen to proliferate.
The other major mistake is assuming the specified temperature is maintained throughout the shipment. Transportation studies typically show temperature spikes during loading, as products sit on the dock or tarmac. Afterward, even pre-chilled foods may take a day and a half to return to proper temperatures.
To learn how temperature monitoring helps improve food’s shelf life, quality and safety, contact ShockWatch.