If you haven’t already noticed, cold chain logistics is currently a hot topic. The demand for fresh products and quality supply chain processes are at an all-time high. Recognizing these trends in cold chain and taking action will help you fulfill your customer’s needs. Let’s look at five trends going on in the cold chain industry.
Big trends in cold chain, specifically the food industry, has been the demand for fresher and higher-quality products. Consumers want their peaches to be juicier and their avocados to be riper. To satisfy the customers’ wants, you need to make sure the carrier that is shipping your product is well versed in cold chain management. They need to know how to avoid changes in the texture and taste of the produce when a shipment fluctuates beyond the required temperature. The focus on quality products means that refrigerated warehouses will need to maintain temperature zones.
Quality products don’t stop at fresh food. With the COVID-19 vaccine being administered, people want to make sure that what they’re getting injected into their bodies is safe. In addition, the amount of biological drugs and gene therapies is growing. Because of this, logistics companies are also widening their capacity for temperature-controlled transportation to meet the demand.
As we’ve stated in our Shipping Pharmaceuticals blog, cold chain logistics play significant role in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Manufacturers of these vaccines and medications need the cold chain to run smoothly to prevent any damage to the expensive drugs. Pharmaceuticals also need to arrive as good as new because medicine that has sat in incorrect temperatures for an extended period can be ineffective or detrimental to a patient’s health.
A recent report by Grand View Research shows that the global cold chain market size is expected to grow 14.8 percent from 2021 to 2028. Many nations have recognized a rising need to avoid food waste and loss of healthcare products due to spoilage. Moreover, the demand for fresher products is on the rise. Nations such as China and India are boosting their global cold chain efforts to meet the demand for their exports. International trade liberalization has also boosted the use of cold chain, globally. Because it is the global cold chain is rising, manufacturers need to become more specialized in their products so they can ship their goods to a wider variety of customers across the globe.
Another trend in the cold chain has been stricter regulations on shipped products. Both globalization and the recent rise of food and pharma counterfeit incidences have caused production and cold chain rules to be reevaluated. The beginning of these rules started with the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act. This act requires anyone in the food supply chain to document every step of the process. Certain products like fruit must be traced all the way back to the point of origin.
Being proactive with these firm rules and regulations has also been a common trend across cold chain logistics. Manufacturers are strengthening their processes in-house to help mitigate any issues with their cold chain. Safety should be a top priority for the manufacturer when shipping through cold chain.
Specialized packaging has been a trending topic in the cold chain industry. Whether it be for pharmaceuticals or food and beverages, manufacturers have been more specific on how they want their products packaged.
For pharmaceutical companies, there has been a conflict between packaging and transportation costs. For smaller shipments moving through the supply chain, a company can choose either a 24, 48, or 72-hour packaging that will protect the products from becoming ineffective. The more insulated the packaging is, the higher the cost. Globalization is also a major factor in this dilemma. If the U.S. ships cold chain products like pharmaceuticals overseas, it is imperative that the carrier knows to re-ice the shipment if any delays occur.
Companies that specialize in temperature-controlled packaging are making single-use or reusable packaging for all your cold chain needs. There are new refrigerated shipping systems that don’t require gel coolants, and they weigh much less than typical cold chain packages. These systems use evaporative, reactive cooling technology that responds and adjusts to fluctuating temperatures.
Whether it be significant innovations such as evaporative cooling technology or something as simple as adding handles and straps to your packaging, traditional packaging is starting to become a thing of the past. Companies are trying to gain that competitive advantage of being the most innovative packaging company for your cold chain needs.
Another demand in the cold chain has been for efficiency and visibility throughout the supply chain. Companies don’t like to be left in the dark when it comes to the transportation of their products. That is why a 3PL provides a wide range of technology services to promote transparency within the supply chain.
Consumers today are becoming more conscientious about their needs. No one wants to settle for spoiled milk or ineffective pharmaceuticals. It is imperative that manufacturers stay up to date on these current trends in the cold chain in order to satisfy their customers. Doing research and staying in the know are both imperative ways for your business to be successful. Being proactive and listening to what customers want is the best way to stay on top in the cold chain industry.
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