Did you know that farmers around the globe currently grow enough food to feed 10 billion people? It’s curious, then, that one billion people worldwide struggle to put food on their families’ plates. Food production isn’t the problem; the food distribution process is. Cold chain logistics could have a profound impact on the global economy and the lives of billions of people. Here are some of the most surprising (and positive!) benefits of introducing cold chain logistics to the food industry.
Increases Shelf Life
Approximately a third of the food produced goes to waste before it even arrives in your kitchen. In fact, 40% of all American groceries purchased go to waste. So when you think your grocery bills are out of control, remember that the annual cost of food waste is $2.6 trillion.
So, why is food waste so expensive? The majority of food spoilage is due to lack of proper refrigeration. A report released by the University of Nottingham found that a perishable food product stored at 25 degrees Celsius for one hour would yield the same amount of spoilage if the same product was stored at 1 degree Celsius for one week. Introducing refrigeration to different areas of the supply chain allows food products to arrive safely to their final destination.
Protecting the environment
When grocery shopping in the dead of winter, did you ever think it was strange that the shelves were lined with blueberries and watermelons? Surely produce that is not in season cannot survive the cold climate of New England. Where did they come from? The answer is a farm, hundreds of thousands of miles away from your local grocer. We understand the concept of transporting food such a far distance has a huge environmental impact, but remember your good friends, Supply and Demand. When there is demand for tropical fruit mid-February, someone is willing to supply it. For now, forget about the massive carbon footprint it takes to get a food product from Point A to Point B, think about what happens when the trip is unsuccessful.
Imagine that a cooler breaks down or no refrigeration was used at all during the journey. When you throw away food, it doesn’t simply just “go away”. It rots in landfills. Food waste emits 3.3 billion metric tones of carbon dioxide, which is slightly behind the greenhouse gases China and the U.S. emmit. Global warming isn’t the only issue that’s the straight result of not using cold chain logistics. Think of all the resources that were used to raise the crops (water, labors, etc.)
Encourages economic growth
Agriculture is a stepping stone towards a modern economy. Developing countries depend so heavily on agriculture so that they may eventually become industrial and post-industrial nations. Imagine how cold chain logistics can help them expand by allowing them to ship their products internationally. For example, India grows 28% of the world’s bananas but ships less than 1% of their supply due to improper infrastructure. Food either rots in the field before farmers can harvest it or while it’s waiting to be sold at an outdoor market. Introducing refrigeration while in transit can help expand the shelf life of these products.
More often than not, food that requires refrigeration contains a lot of important vitamins and minerals. Many people across the planet don’t have access to these vital nutrients. Imagine a much healthier world where food can reach people who need it. If executed properly, cold chains allow perishable food to travel thousands of miles without sacrificing quality. Improper refrigeration allows for the growth of dangerous bacteria, such as Salmonella. Proper handling of food throughout the supply chain will save lives, reduce healthcare expenses, and prevent law suits.
Are you wondering how cold chain logistics would fit in your business? Contact Bar Code Direct to schedule a free consultation.