The world population is growing. Though we are growing enough food, there is a lot of food insecurity; and this is because of food waste. It’s heart-breaking that 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year. Food losses can be because of two factors, losses due to oversupply and losses due to the natural decay of food. There are many solutions for reducing this food wastage but the cold chain can play a huge role in reducing losses and increasing food quality. The most noteworthy benefit is cold chain help perishable food to travel thousands of miles without compromising quality.Temperature monitoring kits like data loggers help to maintain valuable data in the cold chain. Let’s see in detail How Temperature Controlled Logistics Can Reduce Food Losses.
What is cold chain?
The cold chain is a logistic system that provides refrigeration facilities from farmers to consumers to prolong the shelf life and maintain a quality of the products. Fruits & vegetables, meat products, dairy products require refrigeration along the entire supply chain. For effective and proper use of a cold chain, accurate data needed to be collected and analyzed technically. This includes following factors:
- Product pre-cooling
- Container pre-cooling
- Setting of refrigerator
- Container loading pattern
- In-transit ambient temperature
- Handling during loading & unloading
- Storage conditions
Importance Of Cold Chain | Temperature Controlled Logistics
The cold chain may be called as temperature controlled supply chain. It plays an important role in prolonging the shelf life of fresh produce such fruits & vegetables, seafood, frozen food products etc. It helps to meet the safety and quality standards and therefore the high demand for quality food. The cold chain is important in reducing post-harvest losses, as a result, it reduces food insecurity and poverty in developing nations.
Related Reading: Cold Chain Subsidy By MOFPI
Which products require cold chain? | Temperature Controlled Logistics
The cold chain is a fantastic solution for all the perishable products. It has wide applications in food & pharmaceuticals products. Food products like various dairy products, meat and poultry products, seafood, ready to eat products, fruits & vegetables and their processed products etc require cold chain for better shelf life.
Related Reading: Cold Chain Management – Maintain Quality
There are different temperature ranges according to products and required storage period. Supply chain cost also varies accordingly. Some products with definite ranges are
|Ice-cream||-24 to -300C|
|Butter||-18 to -200C|
|Meat & chicken||-10 to -200C|
|Fruit pulp, concentrates, and purees||-180C|
|Pasteurized milk & yoghurt||40C|
|Cheese||0 to -10C|
|Frozen & pre-cooked packed food||-180C|
Sustainable cold chains will help to increase the shelf life by reducing wastage, in addition, protect the environment and will encourage economic growth. Let’s see in detail…
It is the time period during which food products remain safe and retain desired sensory and other characteristics when stored under the recommended conditions. There are many factors that affect the cold chain and temperature is one of the important factors, which is related to the product deterioration. Even small deviation in temperature has a significant impact on the shelf life of products. As a result, the proper temperature should be maintained during cold chains.
In cold chain, a product is either chilled or frozen depends on product type. Chilling temperature range between 0 to 50C helps to retard physical, chemical, microbial changes associated with the food spoilage and improves food safety & quality. Freezing involves temperature range between -25 to -180C. Few microorganisms can grow below -100C. A lot of attention needed to maintain temperature and reduces physical and biochemical changes. Along with the temperature control, other factors like sanitation and hygiene, cross-contamination, shipping logistics also need to be monitored for effective cold chain management.
Liquid natural gas, packed in cold, this cold can be recycled to liquid air which provides zero-emission cooling. Liquid air can also be produced from renewable energy so it will help in environmental protection.
For liquid air cold chains, sufficient numbers of plants, pieces of equipment and employees will require which will result in economic growth.
Advantages of cold chain | Temperature Controlled Logistics
- Reduce wastage – As it increases the shelf life of products and decreases post-harvest losses
- Greater supply to consumers – As food products are available throughout the year.
- Increase farmers income – Reduction in post-harvest losses and other wastage increases income
- Value addition to agricultural produce – sometimes pre-treatments are given that added value to agricultural produce.
So, when cold chain is used properly and run effectively, it can prevent the food losses and increase shelf life successfully.