Food Logistics: Protecting Perishables on the Move

Food Logistics: Protecting Perishables on the Move

We’ve all been there.  After a long stroll through the aisles at your grocery store, navigating shopping carts and couponers, you finally get your haul to the trunk of your hot car.  As you load your milk, ice cream, ground beef and eggs, you say a little prayer that you make it home before it all goes bad.  Sure enough, the gas light is on as you start the car and the radio announces that there is car accident blocking a lane on your drive home.  If a couple small snags can derail your trip home from the grocery store, imagine the obstacles that lie between a fresh food product in the warehouse and getting it to your grocer’s shelf. 

The supply chain that brings fresh produce, meat, dairy and other perishables from suppliers to your refrigerator is a complex process.  As the quality of these products degrades over time, it is vital that they are handled, stored and delivered accurately and precisely.  With temperature being the essential element in delaying the chemical decay of these products, turning your supply chain into a streamlined “cold chain” is imperative.

  • Understand the science: Know what products will be in each shipment and their corresponding shelf life and limitations. The greater chemical knowledge you have about these items, the better you can prepare to maximize their quality and freshness.

  • Use the technology: Once you understand how, why and when different products begin to decompose, you can implement the appropriate technology and process to prolong quality.

Once these two elements are understood, this information can be applied to the logistical processes that see these perishables move from point A to point B.  In an economic climate that is seeing more competition than ever before, preventing loss and adding to your bottom line can be a direct result of following these steps:

  • Use the correct packaging: As materials and technology improves, the best packaging available a few years ago, may not be the best option today. Based on the different environments your perishables will be traveling through and limitations they have, new thermal packaging and proper handling can increase the lifespan of these products.

  • Account for environmental conditions: Depending on the type of product you are transporting, the parameters of their chemical makeup will go a long way in determining the types of environments they will tolerate. While some may be sensitive to humidity or intolerant to freezing, it’s crucial that the vessel, packaging and protocols in place neutralize environmental threats.

  • Comply with governmental regulations: Pharmaceuticals and food products are subject to stringent regulation. Losing product and facing fines can be a substantial penalty. Proactively handling safety and sanitation issues is literally a full-time job, demanding that an employee straddle the informational and operational sides of the business.

As you prepare your perishables for transit and storage, it is essential to have access to the proper resources that will allow you to deliver a quality product and save money.  Barrett Distribution Centers has the experience, technology and processes in place to create an efficient and effective supply chain for perishables.