Challenges in the Food Sector
The food supply chain is a complicated process, to say the least. Unless you hunt, harvest, and process your own food, you rely on the food supply chain to get the staples of everyday life that you pick up in your local market. From this idea alone, you can see that your food supply chain also relies on the supply chain. The supply chain itself is composed of several different factions, some of which comprise dry goods that don’t need any special conditions (aside from dry, less extreme conditions), while other areas in the supply chain handle temperature sensitive goods, like foods and pharmaceutical products, that need strictly regulated environments.
Main Challenges Facing the Food Sector
There are classical challenges to the food sector that just about any layman can guess: temperature control, food product spoilage, delayed shipments. However, we’re also living in a new age, with new and increasing demands on the food supply chain. This brings some additional problems to the forefront, which can further complicate the ‘classic’ issues we’re all already familiar with. Here are the main challenges of the food supply chain, and the cold chain in particular, today.
Shipping is, undoubtedly, one of the main components of not only the supply chain, but also the cold chain. Of course, because cold chain supplies are temperature sensitive, seamless shipping is all the more crucial. While temperature sensitive food products are shipped in climate controlled containers, any piece of equipment has a point at which it no longer operates at optimal efficiency. Delays in shipping can happen because of issues with cargo trucks, transport vehicles being caught up in customs or inspections, and much more.
Constant temperature control
Temperature control is perhaps the biggest factor in keeping products from the food sector in prime condition and maintaining their expiration date. While the logistics side of this business would ideally have this covered, it’s still important for suppliers to ensure their products are kept in the right conditions (which you can learn more about from our article, Who is responsible for maintaining temperature control?). That means providing logistics companies with a full data sheet of information about how to preserve products, which temperatures are acceptable, and all other crucial details about maintaining food products’ integrity.
One way for food suppliers to prove the integrity and quality of their products is to show purchasers a record of consistent, safe storage temperatures. And while even marketplaces might not always ask for a record, they’re still important to keep. Whether it’s a distributor, or a regulatory agency, if they ask for records you have very little choice aside from providing them. On the chance that it is a regulatory agency, like the FDA, you could risk much more than a disapproval from a buyer. Your business itself could be at risk. Whether or not you have an inspection for compliance, most legal organizations require you to keep accurate, thorough records as part of your business.
Maintaining product quality
All of these things: shipping, maintaining records, controlling temperature, all amount to maintaining the quality of food products. When it comes down to it, maintaining food quality and safety is the most important challenge facing the food sector, and the cold chain today. No matter the challenges that arise, it doesn’t excuse logistics companies, suppliers, and consumer product providers from the responsibility of maintaining their products.
How to Overcome Food Supply Issues?
While there are always circumstances outside of our control, there are many things within the food cold chain that we can control. We can control how we keep records, verify controlled storage temperatures more frequently, and intervene when temperatures stray from safe levels before food products are compromised.
But how can we do this?
The simple is answer is with a sensor system designed to optimized the food chain, and the cold chain. The best answer is with Cold Chain Meter, a system designed to maintain records of temperature and humidity readings throughout the day, verify product quality, and notify you as soon as there’s a problem with climate controlled storage.