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Ensuring a seamless cold chain

Fresh meats and sausages place great demands on the entire value chain. These sensitive goods must be safely transported and stored without interruption of the cold chain – at different ambient temperatures. This contribution provides information on warehousing and logistics solutions.

Four whole beef cattle, four sheep, twelve geese, 37 ducks, 46 pigs, 46 turkeys and 945 chickens: According to the 2013 Meat Atlas, every German consumes an average of 1,097 animals in the course of his life. This means that 85 percent of Germans eat meat or cold cuts nearly every day. Overall, this amounts to around 60 kg per capita per year.

The butcher who professionally butchers cattle and pigs in the back room of his store and sells customers fresh meat and sausage in the front has become increasingly rare in industrialized countries. Today, such perishable foods are refrigerated at 4 °C to 0 °C and often supplied by wholesalers or come straight from the slaughterhouse to the shop. There, sales personnel usually just place the meat behind the windows of the sale counter. Alternately, customers get the packaged goods directly from the store’s refrigerated section. Until then, the cold chain must not be interrupted, because even in cool storage of 2 °C to 7 °C, meat spoils within a few days.

Due to increasing meat consumption in Germany, more and more food manufacturers and logistics service providers need refrigerated and frozen storage. But these can be huge energy guzzlers if they are not carefully planned and managed.

One challenge, for example, is the loading and unloading of frozen products – especially in the case of manually operated warehouses. The main objective of shippers and service providers is always ensuring the lowest energy use that does not interrupt the cold chain. After all, the energy cost block of running a warehouse is approximately 25 percent.

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