Ben Adams, Jr.

Facts about the cold supply chain

The facts about the public refrigerated warehousing (PRW) industry aren’t just cold and hard, they’re pretty interesting when you stop and think about them.  Consider the following:

  • Cold storage of processed foods and the commodities used to make meals is an industry worth at least $4.5 billion annually in the United States, according to Food Logistics magazine.
  • Food cold storage is a subset of the cold supply chain, which, in turn, is a subset of the massive national and global food supply chains.
  • A cold chain is temperature controlled from start to finish.  It’s an unbroken and uninterrupted series of storage and transportation activities that maintain a given temperature range for a particular product.  While most cold chains involve food, some deal with photographic films, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Each food commodity has its own optimum shipping and storage requirement.  Take croissants from England, for example.  These are best shipped at 0 degrees or below because of their high butter content.  Alarms go off if their shipping temperature rises above 10 or degrees for even a brief period.  If the croissants warm and freeze again, the butter will separate—affecting, in this case, not so much the potential harmfulness of the product, but certainly the texture and taste of it.
  • Food storage categories are conditioned (50 to 65 degrees), refrigerated (33 to 36 degrees) and frozen (0 degrees and below).  Some products, such as ice cream, require an even deeper freeze, in a range of minus-10 to minus-15 degrees.

What we have here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interesting details about cold storage and the cold supply chain.  We’ll pick up with this topic in next month’s article.

This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage.


column by BEN ADAMS

BIO: Ben Adams Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage LLC in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates 200,000 square feet of multi-temperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion project currently under way.

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