While the spring warmup seems to be “missing in action” for the Northeast US with April temps stuck 10-15 degrees below normal, you’d be right to assume we’re talking about the weather. However, what we’re actually referring to is the fact that cold-chain shippers in the food industry are facing market conditions that demand investment in more and better infrastructure to support cold chain shipping. Here’s why (and how TMS technology can help).
Transport Topics has an article out drawing the correlation between the rapid rise of online grocery sales and the resulting need for additional cold storage capacity. Projected to grow to $100 by 2024 or 13% of total grocery sales, online grocery is being cemented as a business model thanks to the success of huge companies like Amazon, Walmart and others rushing to meet consumer demand for this type of service.
Commercial realtor CB Richard Ellis noted that the US currently has around 3.6 billion cubic feet of food-commodity cold storage but predicts demand for cold storage space near population centers to increase as online grocery sales continue to grow.
All this expansion points to more origin and destination locations for food shippers moving temperature controlled product through the supply chain across ever-increasing geographies. With food products inevitably spending more time in transit thanks to the emerging home delivery model, it will be even more critical for shippers to keep track of temp-controlled freight. If for no other reason than to be able to demonstrate that freight was maintained within acceptable tolerances during the time it was in the custody of the shipper and/or its consignee(s).
Food Safety Modernization Act regulations mandate better, more detailed audit capabilities for food shippers in cases of food borne illness outbreaks or other instances of contamination. With the addition of another link in the cold chain – between the retailer and the consumers’ home – the potential for inadequate temp control in transit is heightened significantly.
Smart grocery chains, food producers and other food processors can protect themselves against claims, FSMA penalties and costly brand reputation damage by putting measures in place now to improve visibility into cargo temperature while in transit. New, real time temperature control monitoring solutions are now available from leading TMS providers. These low-cost offerings typically pay for themselves several times over by simply saving a single truckload of high-value cold freight from spoilage.
With the summer heat soon to arrive, and the market for grocery home delivery heating up too, food shippers taking steps to ensure they (and their freight) remain safely refrigerated can be the coolest customers in the country!