Cold chain is a logistic system that provides a series of facilities for maintaining ideal storage conditions for perishables from the point of origin to the point of consumption in the food supply chain. The chain needs to start at the farm level (e.g. harvest methods, Pre-cooling) and cover up to the consumer level or at least to the retail level. A well organized cold chain reduces spoilage, retains the quality of the harvested products and guarantees a cost efficient delivery to the consumer given adequate attention for customer service. The main feature of the chain is that if. any of the links is missing or is weak, the whole system fails.
The Cold chain logistics infrastructure generally consists of:
– Pre-cooling facilities
– Cold Storages
– Refrigerated Carriers
– Information Management systems (Traceability and Tracking etc.)
The temperature controlled supply chains or cold chains are a significant proportion of the retail food market. The market shares of fast foods, ready meals and frozen products have increased in recent years. There are several food temperature levels to suit different types of products. Frozen, cold chilled, medium chilled, and exotic chilled are some of the frequently used nomenclatures with specified temperature ranges, depending on the products, whether it is meat or ice cream or potatoes or bananas.
With the growing demands to keep and distribute temperature sensitive products in potent condition, organizations are seeking better solutions to maintain and monitor cold chain. The success of implementing cold chain management involves continual monitoring of product temperature throughout distribution and having appropriate corrective action plans in place. A streamlined, well maintained cold chain helps to:
– Reduce costs
– Improve product integrity
– Increase customer satisfaction
– Reduce wastage and returns of expired stock
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