For years, change has been advocated for in the cold chain industry to reduce waste and become more conscientious of our impact on the environment. This year COVID-19 has helped accelerate this issue to a forefront level of concern. Feeding America, a non-profit organization for hunger relief, has stated that 54 million people across the globe have experienced hunger in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19. If we consider waste issues specific to the cold chain industry, there are many opportunities where improvement can reduce food waste before the fresh products even reach the grocery store.
A finely-tuned supply chain is crucial from the very beginning to the end. Farmers and food producers need their partnering logistics companies to appropriately manage the chain to avoid the risk of waste from preventable circumstances. One of the most alarming points of food waste is dumping surpluses simply due to a lack of storage availability and a lack of immediate demand. The weight of this issue is especially heavy during the global pandemic, and these surpluses should instead be donated to food banks.
In another scenario in the cold chain, neglecting to properly manage transport conditions can result in degradation, when the product must be rejected upon delivery as it is unfit for resale. With food, spoilage can often be seen by visual inspection, but many times, the deterioration is not obvious until days later, when the food begins to spoil in the grocery store much sooner than expected. Cold chain temperature monitoring is vital to ensure there is no gap at any transportation point, whether it's during transit or waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Able Freight already employs KoldKart containers on the airport tarmac to cover what would otherwise be a weak point in coverage in the cold chain and a potential cause of waste or spoilage.
Where there is a growing awareness of the issue of waste, there is also a growing social demand for environmentally-sustainable business practices. Large consumer-goods companies have pledged goals of reducing their carbon emissions in the next 10, 20, or 30 years. This starts with research into the contributing factors within the supply chain, from materials and manufacturing to packaging and transportation. This does not involve a quick solution but rather making steps toward investing in a long-term solution for a cleaner environmental impact in the future.