A variation on typical supply chains, the cold chain refers to the movement of perishable goods - like food and beverages - that need to be refrigerated along each step of the chain. However, as supply chains become longer and more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to cater to the specific climate requirements of different goods throughout every step of the process. When food and beverages aren’t properly handled, monitored, and maintained along the cold chain, it leads to more spoiled and damaged products.
Waste can occur anywhere along the cold chain process, from production and processing to distribution, delivery, and storage. However, with the proper systems and maintenance steps in place – including having the proper temperature-controlled conditions along each step – millions of tons of food can potentially be salvaged annually. And food and beverage products that are preserved are more likely to maintain their peak nutritional value and taste, ensuring fresh food of the highest quality is what ends up in the hands of the end consumer.
Discover how using time and temperature indicators in cold chain management can assist with the important goal of decreasing food waste and delivering fresh, high quality, nutritionally dense food to your customers.
Important Factors in the Cold Chain Process
In the farm-to-fork initiative, deterioration occurs mainly with fresh products because of their short shelf life and perishability. Two of the most important factors that impact whether food makes it from its origin to the consumer’s table in good condition are time and temperature control.
Temperature-sensitive products have different specifications and needs. Since each product differs, maintaining product integrity along the cold chain requires specialized management. Shipping providers must adhere to several rules and regulations defined by industry regulators for use across the cold chain supply.
Time is a huge factor when it comes to ensuring food and beverage products make it to the final destination in good condition. If too much time passes at any point in the cold chain process, the risk for product spoilage increases.
Streamlining the distribution of refrigerated products with time indicators that notify of product arrivals and departures speeds up the entire process. Once the products arrive at each checkpoint, the desired temperature-monitoring device will have an update readily available. This will indicate if a damaging temperature change occurred during the transfer.
Additionally, an efficient delivery method is essential to the timely delivery of temperature-sensitive items and goods to your consumers. Reviewing documentation, following internal handling best practices, and managing risks should be part of a strict internal process.
Numerous challenges may arise throughout the cold chain process, even before the final consumer receives their goods. Everything from freezers breaking to unexpected delays, warm warehouses, and packages left unattended on doorsteps can all compromise the ideal temperature conditions for a product. Therefore, temperature control plays a vital role in maintaining food quality and keeping food from spoiling. When the temperature deviates from the recommended range for a particular product, it can not only affect the product’s efficacy but, in the worst cases, render it unfit for consumption. Monitoring temperature at every stage throughout the cold chain process can prevent food waste. When the proper temperature-monitoring technology is implemented and used to communicate among all partners in the cold chain, the number of shipments that experience deviations in temperature are significantly reduced.
Temperature indicator labels on items provide a visual indication when the temperature deviates outside the ideal temperature range. They can also serve as a visual warning to make handlers aware of the monitoring program, alerting them that the products need to be handled properly and well-maintained.
Managing fresh foods is difficult. Small differences in both time and temperature exposure for each unit throughout the cold chain can negatively impact product quality, freshness, and remaining shelf life. Cold chain monitoring provides insights that help you optimize and manage freshness throughout your supply chain.
Evigence sensors provide unique tracking and data storage abilities to increase efficiencies throughout the entire cold chain process and help to significantly reduce food waste. Our first-class technology for monitoring fresh foods helps businesses improve the quality of products delivered to their customers.
We combine sensors with data analytics to monitor food's freshness in real time, at the item level, from production through consumption.
“Time and temperature control are the cornerstones of a successful cold chain process. When it comes to ensuring food arrives in pristine condition, every second and degree matter. That's why our Evigence sensors, known as time-temperature indicators (TTIs), play a crucial role in helping businesses streamline their operations and reduce food waste. With TTIs, we empower our partners to maintain the highest standards of freshness throughout the entire supply chain” explains, Danny Hacohen, VP of Business Development at Evigence.”
We offer specialized cold chain freshness management solutions, including the last miles:
1. Cold Chain Freshness Management
Cold Chain Freshness Monitoring combines sensors and data analytics to enable real-time optimization of freshness throughout the entire supply chain.
2. Last Mile Freshness Management
Evigence’s Last Mile Freshness Management for Home Delivery combines sensors and data analytics to enable real-time visibility into the freshness of food when it arrives at the home of the consumer.
The Evigence Freshness Management Platform consists of three core elements; sensors, scans and insights.
• Sensors can be seamlessly applied at the unit or case level during high-speed manufacturing processes at the retail level. The sensors are temperature indicator labels that react to aggregate temperature exposure over time.
• Sensors are scanned digitally and can also be physically read. This direct visual observation provides an instant read of the product’s remaining freshness. When the sensor is viewed by an employee or consumer, it gradually transitions in color, displaying the gradual degradation of the product. This color shift is a reliable indicator of remaining shelf life, as it’s consistently accurate within a margin of 90%. This allows drops in freshness to be instantly identified, enabling you to quickly take appropriate action.
• Scanned data is uploaded to the Evigence Freshness Platform for analytics, enabling companies to gain insights to help them further improve the cold chain process for their products.
When you partner with Evigence, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions and proactively improve your part in the farm-to-fork delivery process. We can help you reduce waste and maintain product quality with our comprehensive monitoring system that includes temperature sensors, real-time alerts, and analytic capabilities.
Reach out with any questions about partnering with us to improve operational efficiencies and reduce food waste, we would love to connect!
Courtney Cook, Marketing Director