The succession of refrigeration steps along the supply chain that are applied to keep perishable products in the desired temperature range is referred to as the cold chain. The cold chain is responsible for the preservation and transportation of perishable products in the proper temperature range to slow biological decay process and deliver safe and high-quality products.
Overview of the cold chain
The figure above presents an overview of the steps in a typical cold chain. The cold chain generally starts right after harvesting for fresh fruits and vegetables and right after processing for processed fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products, when the food is precooled to bring its temperature to the appropriate food-specific storage temperature. The cold chain ends when the food is placed in a domestic refrigerator by the consumer. The product may transit through one or more storage and distribution centers before being shipped to retailers, as well as through a packaging center and cross-docking sites. The total duration of the cold chain is highly dependent on the specific product and the target market, with some cold chains being as short as a few hours and others lasting several months or even years, especially for frozen food products. Each step in the cold chain has a significant impact on the final quality of the product, and temperature abuses that exceed the product tolerance level may occur at any point.
Harvesting or processing
The cold chain generally starts right after harvesting for fresh fruits and vegetables and right after processing for processed fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products, when the food is precooled to bring its temperature to the appropriate food-specific storage temperature.
Precooling is critical for removing heat from perishable products after harvesting or production. Reducing the delay from harvesting or production to precooling has been shown to improve the shelf-life of perishable products significantly, as this is the period when the perishable product is at the highest temperature and loses shelf life at the highest rate.
Given the long distances traveled and, therefore, the long duration of land transportation, keeping the temperature of perishable food in the desired range during this step in the cold chain is critical.
Storage at the distribution center
After harvesting or processing, the perishable product is generally transported to 1 or multiple distribution centers to be sorted and shipped to a retailer that is selected based on product demand. Given that the perishable food can be stored at the distribution center for multiple days, proper refrigeration is required.
On arrival at the retailer, perishable food is generally placed in a display cabinet or rotated between a display cabinet and a refrigerated storage room. Dawsongroup can offer a range of cold storage units for retail businesses. Our units are designed to keep the products of your retail outlet as fresh as they can possibly be.
Every activity in the distribution of mentioned cold chain products should be carried out according to requirements of local regulations and good distribution practices. All our products comply with current requirements and regulations.
If your business works with temperature-sensitive products, the quality of your cold chain system will determine the quality of your products. This can be very stressful for business and that's why Dawsongroup offers an extensive range of products and services to make sure your col chain system will protect your products.
We serve a broad spectrum of industries, from food to pharmaceuticals and provide a comprehensive, free of charge, consultation service. This gives a full perspective of what your business is about, so we provide the perfect solution that suits you.
If you would like to explore all the opportunities we can offer to your business get in touch today or call us on 045 448 810.