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    Cold Chain Management

    Diversion Potential:
    18K Tons

    Economic Value Per Ton:

    GHGs Reduced:
    62K Tons

    Water Saved:
    6B Gallons


    Increase the use of direct, point-to-point perishable food shipments from farmers to retailers to reduce the number of stops a product makes in transit and develop a cold chain certification standard for food carriers


    • The food logistics industry is highly fragmented.
    • Retailers lack a financial incentive to act, since they typically can pass the cost of rejected food as a loss back to the shipper or supplier.
    • Smaller suppliers and distributors are motivated to reduce losses but lack the scale, financial capacity, and time to implement new practices.

    Stakeholder Actions

    • Retailers and manufacturers can develop performance standards related to cold chain management excellence.
    • Large retailers can create demand for better cold chain practices among the fragmented logistics industry, similar to how Walmart uses its buying power to pressure its suppliers to change business practices.
    • Academic studies can analyze the business case for how point-to-point food shipments minimize temperature-related losses during transit.
    • Nonprofits or industry players can develop a cold chain certification system that outlines best practices and holds businesses accountable for avoiding preventable waste.

    Examples & Resources

    • Tesco increased the shelf life of several fruits and vegetables by two days by cutting their time in transit through direct shipments from suppliers to stores.

    • The Global Food Safety Initiative is a new certification system example that includes cold chain management practices.

    • One large distributor requires as part of its contracts that their employees maintain responsibility for unloading and putting away products at end points to ensure that deliveries end up in the correct location, whether refrigerated cases, freezers, or dry rooms

    Related Solutions

    Improved Inventory Management

    Improvements in the ability of retail inventory management systems to track an average product’s remaining shelf-life (time left to sell an item) and inform efforts to reduce days on hand (how long an item has gone unsold)

    $1194 /ton
    in financial benefit

    59 K tons/yr
    in diversion potential

    0 M meals/yr
    meals recovered

    181 K tons/yr
    in GHG reduction

    20 B gal/yr
    in water conservation

    jobs created

    Learn How >

    Spoilage Prevention Packaging

    Packaging technologies that actively slow fruit and meat spoilage through ethylene absorption and other techniques

    $2326 /ton
    in financial benefit

    72 K tons/yr
    in diversion potential

    0 M meals/yr
    meals recovered

    329 K tons/yr
    in GHG reduction

    44 B gal/yr
    in water conservation

    jobs created

    Learn How >
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