The world population is growing, maybe too fast to sustain itself.
The numbers are truly staggering. For example, in the 20th century, global population exploded from 1.65 billion to 6 billion!
That’s not all – it’s estimated that we’ll reach a worldwide population of around 9 billion people by 2050.
The one pressing question this data brings to everyone’s mind is how are we going to feed everybody?
At present time, there’s a lot of food insecurity even with present population numbers.
It’s estimated that around 800 million people go hungry – roughly one in nine human beings.
At present time, it seems that we grow enough food to supply everyone on the planet with enough meals to sustain themselves.
So what’s going on?
One of the biggest challenges facing solving hunger and delivering meals to those who need them is food waste.
A heartbreaking 1.3 billion tons of food grown for global consumption is wasted each year.
While there are many solutions being floated, one of the most important ideas is to make changes to the cold chain system.
There are a lot of challenges and tons of information on this exciting concept – let’s get into it.
How Does The Cold Chain System Work?
The cold chain system is simply the name given to the refrigeration of foods as they travel to their destinations.
Farmers harvest their products – anything from fruits and vegetables, to meat, to milk and other dairy products.
They need a properly refrigerated space to keep their produce at the appropriate temperature before the trucks arrive.
The trucks themselves need to stay refrigerated to ensure nothing spoils on the way from the farm to the businesses that will resell the products.
Grocery stores, frozen food centers, and convenience stores to name a few need to keep the food at temperatures to ensure it’s safe for consumption.
It seems simple, but there are a few challenges facing the cold chain system that leads to food waste.
Let’s explore the issues and suss out their solutions.
As economies improve, new markets emerge, thus increasing demand for certain foods and products. Food is being shipped farther than ever before, and it needs to travel fast to ensure freshness.
Companies need to rise to the demand.
As the world wants more and more, to keep up with the best standards and prevent food waste, they need to grow appropriately.
Increased Quality Brings Increased Regulations
Not only is the amount of food increasing but the quality is as well.
Higher quality food is more sensitive to temperature changes and might be more prone to spoilage as well.
Not only that, but consumers demand higher standards in food safety. The craze for organic fruits and vegetables free of pesticides has proven this.
This means that those on the cold chain need to be extremely mindful of the variations in temperature and maintain several different temperature variations.
In response to food safety concerns, many governments are exploring ways to maintain consistency across the cold chain system.
Restrictions are tightening and legislation is coming into play.
It’s a good idea to anticipate a higher level of service and invest in your refrigeration services to match higher standards.
Plus, higher quality products can mean higher profits.
Focus On Investment In Sustainability
In order to get ahead of the coming regulations, many cold chain system suppliers are building stricter standards for themselves.
They see the value in making sure food quality is high, temperatures are varied, and waste is reduced.
There are multiple ideas being tested out on the market today and it’s been spurring innovation.
Right now, some manufacturers are testing out using compressed natural gas in cold chain system tractors.
This is their way of tackling resource consumption while balancing energy needs.
In warehouses, others are trying out ammonia instead of freon for use as a refrigerant.
Ammonia is too volatile for use in trailers which is why it’s focused in storage at the moment.
Not only do these innovations sustain products and reduce waste, they’re also helping cut the C02 emissions contributing to climate change
Improved Packaging And Insulation
Containers and packaging are becoming a great way to maintain food freshness.
Packaging is improving to keep products within the necessary temperature range.
Right now, though, there are a few obstacles to it being the best solution.
Extra packaging costs money and produces more trash when it’s disposed of.
The solution is that more suppliers are embracing greener packaging measures, but until that becomes the norm, it forces prices up for both supplier and consumer.
Another solution is to improve the insulation used in the refrigerated trucks along the cold chain system.
All of the above are great steps that help maintain quality and freshness.
Technology On The Rise
New technology is playing a surprising role in the cold chain system.
Monitoring systems are going into trucks that allow companies to monitor quality and mitigate losses in real time.
GPS units track freight position so changes in shipping conditions are constantly scrutinized.
Onboard equipment can keep track of temperature and refrigerant usage.
Some tech even allows the home office instead of the truck drivers to change the temperature in the trailer if they see the need.
Other companies are bringing that high-tech solution directly to the consumer.
For example, temperature sensitive ink is being placed on packaging so that consumers will know when something is at their optimal temperature or has fallen below what’s considered safe.
Consumer Education Is Needed
The consumer remains the weakest link on the cold chain system and education to change their habits is needed.
All of the technology and innovation in the cold chain system can’t monitor what customers do with the product at the end of the day.
They might leave their carton of milk in a hot car too long or neglect a package of meat on their countertop.
While measures are taken to counteract consumer behavior, it’s important that suppliers do all they can beforehand.
It’s becoming an increasingly moral choice to do everything we can to reduce food waste and help end world hunger and reduce our impact on the environment.
Partner with a company like Fresh One Distribution Services.
Their refrigerated vans and straight trucks are equipped to move good across the United States in the most optimal conditions.
Plus, they’re ready to take on any job, big or small, no matter where you’re located or how often you need them.
Take a step towards improving the cold chain system and reach out to Fresh One Distribution Services.