Guest article

Overcoming the tight delivery demands for fresh baked goods and snacks

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The timely delivery of freshly baked goods is paramount. Pic Courier Express
The timely delivery of freshly baked goods is paramount. Pic Courier Express

Related tags: Logistics, Shelf life, Food waste

More diversified consumer demand, omni-channel shopping practices and the increased support for local products are creating a challenging environment for the UK’s bakeries, snack food producers and foodservice logistics providers. John Lee, MD of Courier Express Refrigerated Transport Ltd, delves into the issues.
John Lee Courier Express
John Lee

The distribution of fresh baked goods and on-the-go snacks remains one of the most demanding in which to operate, for both logistics providers and food manufacturers alike.

The supply chain is ever-growing in complexity, including consumers changing purchasing habits, the rise of online shopping and a broader change in dining trends.

Food producers and retailers are now having to act faster than ever to anticipate customer demands and growing trends, working with companies in the logistics supply chain to coordinate continuous movement of temperature-sensitive food produce. All the while, there is the added emphasis on ensuring products stay at the perfect temperature in order to prevent spoilage, while attempting to reduce costs and improve delivery efficiency and quality.

The difference between 'sellable' and 'spoilt'

The importance of temperature-controlled logistics is pivotal across all areas of the food and drink sector, none more so than when it comes to items such as breads, cakes and pastries.

Market leaders in these sectors require bespoke refrigeration transportation to manage daily deliveries over multiple locations and to strict deadlines. These companies’ competitive edge is backed by their consistent innovation and ability to continually bring fresh products to the market. Not being able to deliver on such an obvious business objective can have a huge detrimental impact – loss of business and food wastage being the biggest.

As a result, logistics companies must be even more responsive to cater for both large supermarkets and smaller convenience stores, alongside demands from bakeries and other food suppliers.

When it comes to transporting sensitive food produce with a limited shelf life, there is evidently no margin for error. Any change in temperature with highly degradable food can be the difference between products arriving in optimum condition or being spoilt enroute.

Having temperature control, monitoring and recording during the transportation and storage is – and always will be – a critical factor and one governed by UK law.

For example, The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 stipulate chilled food must be kept at 8°C (46.4°F) or below during the transportation process. Furthermore, ensuring the cold chain is not broken is just as imperative, as any stoppage or break in temperature-controlled supply can compromise the integrity of the produce and lead to significant degradation.

Today’s technology

The increasing use of technology has had a significant impact on the effectiveness of the food supply chain network throughout the UK.

Most temperature-controlled vehicles are fitted with regularly calibrated temperature recording equipment, which can provide detailed temperature records to the driver, manufacturer and the customer at any stage of the journey.

When used correctly, technology safeguards the quality of perishable goods, avoiding temperature-related problems during transit and guaranteeing the safe delivery of products.

Temperature and humidity levels are pre-set before distribution and tracked by the system in real-time, with alerts sent wirelessly to the refrigerated transport provider should conditions change. This enables immediate action to be taken to promptly correct any issues in the supply chain.

When twinned with state-of-the-art vehicle tracking systems, companies in the food industry can receive full transparency of temperature-controlled deliveries, whether that’s chilled, frozen or multi-temperature.

Fleet tracking systems that monitor and analyse vehicle locality, fuel costs and even driver behaviour can ensure an efficient supply chain and reduces the instances of late deliveries and lost revenue.

This is particularly beneficial when dealing with the suppliers of breads, cakes and pastries, where companies often require deliveries to be made in tight delivery windows.

Producers wanting to reduce costly product spoilage and improve supply chain efficiency should always seek the assistance of experienced refrigerated logistics providers to ensure a smooth distribution operation.

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