In this post, we consider the impact that an efficient cold chain has on reducing food waste.

Fighting food waste in the supply chain

Desperdicio comida

If 17% of food produced is wasted in homes, by food services and retail outlets (PNUMA, 2021, p. 8), when do we throw away the remaining 83% of food? During harvest, storage, transformation and distribution. If the end customer plays its part in wasting food, then members of the supply chain do too.

At Tempack Coldchain Store 2 Door we’re aware of the specific importance that supply chain weaknesses have on global food waste, especially when it comes to perishable goods. That’s why we want to highlight once again on our blog the need to employ reliable temperature-controlled distribution solutions.

Alarming, little-known facts

How much food do we throw away every year on this long-suffering planet of ours? The truth is that we don’t know the answer. The United Nation’s 2021 report that we referred to before discusses the difficulty of collecting reliable data and points to the visible tip of the iceberg: end consumers.

However, upon analysing the Food and Agriculture’s (FAO) 2019 report (see a summary here), and despite it being incomplete and partial, we can easily see where the rest of the waste occurs: at harvest (more than 50% of what’s produced!) and the stage from post-harvest to retailers, with an average of 14%.

For anyone familiar with extraction (crop farming, fishing or cattle farming), storage, transformation and distribution practices and strategies, it is well-known that zero waste’s most critical point is not in homes or hospitality, but on farms, in fields, warehouses, factories and transport.

Similarly, we are not able to assess these volumes, nor can we measure their environmental impact and food security. But this is not necessary because we can easily spot it; we are all able to understand that whatever the exact number is, it’s too high.

The critical cold chain

These merely illustrative data refer to global food production. If we focus on perishable goods (fruit and vegetables, meat and fish), it is easy to imagine that the figures would go up to an alarming level. What percentage of food that enters the cold chain reaches our stomachs?

We are very aware that the cold chain is delicate. Every time produce is transported, handled or packed, it may result in some food waste, which could be substantial if it does not comply with strict best practices from when it is first stored until it is delivered to the retailer or end consumer.

Isothermal packaging plays an essential role in keeping perishable goods at optimal quality, whether they are fresh or frozen or processed or not. It prevents temperature fluctuations in a very environmentally sustainable and competitive way, especially in last-mile distribution.

Passive cold-based solutions – leaving to one side other competitive advantages for food companies and businesses – are our main weapon against food waste in capillary distribution. Naturally, raising awareness among every one of us is too, but actions are what count.


Take care of food; yours and everyone else’s

What are you waiting for? It’s as easy as using efficient isothermal packaging!