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Shipping perishables: How food manufacturers and logistics providers can reduce transport spoilage

04.28.2018 | By Justin Turner | 3 min. read

Technologies and strategies that slash waste in your cold-food supply chain

Shipping perishable goods is no easy task. Shippers must maintain tight controls over every aspect of the shipping process — from timing to temperatures — to avoid spoilage. When things go wrong, rejected shipments can cost you money, and food safety concerns can cost you business. Luckily, there are food transportation methods that lower the risk of product spoilage.

What are the top causes of transport spoilage?

  • Poorly controlled truck temperatures
  • Traffic and other transport delays
  • Over-ripe food leaving the warehouse or distribution center
  • Improper packaging

Let’s examine some best practices for protecting items that must stay cold, as well as a few technologies and tactics that protect shipments during food distribution.

Technologies that reduce food waste

These traceability technologies will help you pinpoint where in the cold chain problems are most likely occurring:

  • Biosensors: Biosensors are a beneficial tool to use. When connected to packaging, they detect enzymes and pathogens that signal spoilage in your perishables. Biosensor-generated data logs allow food shippers to see when spikes appear in real time and make the necessary adjustments to improve transportation processes and eliminate waste.
  • RFID Readers: RFID readers allow warehouse workers and truck drivers to create timestamps when trans-loading shipments by simply scanning barcodes. This information tells food companies exactly how long shipments take to reach destinations. RFID readers also help you detect the source of delays and make corrections.

In addition to implementing helpful tech tools, you can evaluate your supply chain.

Supply chain management strategies that reduce food waste

Here are some additional processing methods that extend product shelf life:

  • Plan ahead to save time and money in the long run.
  • Adjust delivery routes with your logistics partner so food products nearing ripeness will travel shorter distances.
  • Select logistics services that expedite delivery and use express shipping.
  • Re-evaluate perishable goods’ ingredients as well as cold-storage containers to determine if you can make any adjustments that would extend freshness.

The above tactics and technologies will help food shippers track perishable shipments and spot inefficiency in their food and beverage supply chains. By investing in cold chain technology and implementing sound food logistics strategies, shippers can better understand weak spots in their supply chains, more quickly implement solutions, and more effectively protect the freshness of perishable goods.


Flock Freight is helping shippers and carriers deliver food to our communities. Book shared truckload to ship your essential goods today.