In the farm-to-fork initiative, temperature control plays a vital role in maintaining food quality and keeping food safe for consumption throughout every step of the process. Therefore, temperature monitoring is essential for preserving freshness, optimizing shelf life, and preventing bacterial growth. Restaurants, grocery stores, and food distributors rely on accurate monitoring systems throughout the cold chain process to prevent spoilage and meet food safety requirements.
Cold chain monitoring uses technology to continually monitor the temperature of items in a “cold chain” – a supply chain of perishable and/or temperature-sensitive products like food and beverages, as well as pharmaceuticals. Without proper monitoring, the quality of products can be compromised during transport and storage. Issues during the cold chain process can also negatively impact customer health, loyalty, and a company's reputation.
Temperatures are kept low in cold storage using modes such as refrigeration, gel packs, dry ice, and liquid nitrogen. These methods work alongside monitoring solutions to ensure items remain within the designated temperature range and find their way to consumers fresh and safe to use. Monitoring must be consistent through all stages of a product’s lifecycle. Products damaged or which spend too much time below the temperature threshold at any stage must be removed before they reach consumers.
Why is Cold Chain Monitoring Important?
Effective cold chain monitoring is an important aspect of the food and beverage transportation process and offers various valuable benefits. Monitoring real-time information about their products assists producers and transportation companies in the following ways:
- Detection of Temperature Fluctuations: Swift identification of product temperature fluctuations enables companies to quickly respond and minimize the potential damage to products by taking corrective action such as rerouting the products or repairing equipment.
- Streamlined Inventory Management: Employing a unified technology platform to monitor the condition of all products within the cold chain streamlines inventory management processes. This optimization enhances overall operational efficiencies..
- Reinforcing Regulatory Compliance: The integration of sensor data within the supply chain management system not only promotes but also elevates regulatory reporting and compliance standards. This ensures adherence to stringent quality and safety requirements, bolstering consumer trust
3 Parts of Cold Chain Monitoring
Cold chains demand the continual maintenance of refrigeration at each stage of the supply chain, from manufacturing and transportation to storage and delivery. The purpose of cold chain monitoring is to safeguard a product's quality and integrity, achieved by meticulously maintaining it within an ideal, low-temperature range throughout its entire lifecycle.
Cold chain monitoring employs temperature sensors continuously from the product’s inception to storage at the last mile of the journey. The three essential parts of cold chain monitoring are:
1. Process Monitoring
Process monitoring plays a critical role in maintaining the quality of temperature-dependent processes and variables. Temperature sensors are continually employed to support quality control throughout manufacturing, processing, and handling operations.
Temperature sensors enable the detection of any deviations from the prescribed temperature range for a specific product. A temperature that falls outside of this range could lead to a damaged product and could potentially compromise consumer safety by consuming spoiled food.
2. Shipping and Transportation
Accurate temperature monitoring becomes paramount when perishable goods are transported over long distances, and especially across varying climates. . For example, frozen food items like ice cream are particularly sensitive and require very specific constant low temperatures to preserve their texture and quality.
By maintaining optimal temperatures during transportation, we can significantly optimize a product’s shelf life, whether it’s frozen or fresh produce. Temperature sensors equipped with alarms can promptly alert logistics personnel of any temperature deviations, enabling quick action to prevent damage to a product while in transit.
Temperature monitoring in storage, including in warehouses and grocery store refrigerators and freezers, is equally crucial for maintaining high-quality products. Temperature sensors provide real-time data on temperature levels ensuring adherence to storage prerequisites and safety regulations for the preservation of high-quality products.
Evigence Cold Chain Monitoring
Evigence’s top-tier monitoring technology helps businesses improve the management of fresh foods throughout the entire cold chain while reducing food waste due to temperature abuse. We combine our state-of-the-art sensors with rich data analytics to monitor the freshness of food in real-time, at the item or case level, from production through consumption and offer specialized cold chain freshness management solutions.
Our sensors, known as time-temperature indicators (TTIs), are pivotal tools in the entire farm-to-fork delivery process. TTIs track cumulative time and temperature, meticulously and consistently monitoring the freshness of perishable items to provide actionable insights back to corporate users.
Evigence’s Cold Chain Freshness Management combines sensors and data analytics to enable real-time optimization of freshness throughout the supply chain. Learn more about our process through sensors, scans, and insights:
- Sensors are seamlessly embodied as cost-effective product labels. They can be conveniently applied during high-speed manufacturing processes at the retail level. These sensors react to aggregate temperature exposure over time. Our patented cost-efficient sensor technology enables us to apply sensors to each retail unit, providing more accurate insights and solutions at the unit or case level.
- Sensors are scanned digitally and can also be visually read. This direct visual observation provides an instant appraisal of the product’s remaining freshness. When the sensor is viewed by an employee or consumer, it gradually transitions in color, displaying the degradation of the product. This color shift is a reliable indicator of remaining shelf life, as it’s consistently accurate around 90%.
- Scanned data is uploaded to the Evigence Freshness Dashboard for analytics and visualization, and so companies can gain actionable insights that will help them further improve the cold chain process for their products. The accumulation of data via our sensors helps to further reduce spoilage and food waste issues moving forward. Better yet, you can customize your dashboards to track freshness across the entire supply chain and instantly identify any reduction in freshness, enabling you to promptly take the appropriate action.
Monitoring temperature in the cold chain is a crucial element in ensuring the quality and safety of temperature-sensitive food products. Evigence offers a comprehensive monitoring system that includes temperature sensors, real-time alerts, and advanced analytical capabilities. Our solution is designed to assist you in achieving regulatory compliance, reducing waste, and maintaining product quality. Our approach is data-driven, prioritizing accuracy over reliance on date codes, thereby ensuring the delivery of the highest quality products to your valued customers.
Cold chain monitoring provides valuable insights that enable you to optimize freshness throughout your supply chain. Our Cold Chain Freshness Management services empower you to make informed decisions and proactively enhance your role in the farm-to-fork delivery process.
Contact us with any questions about how a partnership can improve operational efficiencies, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce food waste.