Having high product quality in the fresh produce department has a positive impact on sell through. Ventilation and temperature control are vital components of product quality throughout the fresh supply chain. Taking steps to ensure proper temperature control procedures are in place is key. Make sure to consider three main heat loads that affect temperature during transport:
Internal Heat Loads
These heat loads result from field heat and respiration heat generated by produce in transit. This can be minimized with pre-cooling and proper temperature control during transit. Pre-cooling reduces the respiration rate and therefore product degradation, lessens water loss and wilting, slows spoilage and slows ripening with ethylene producing produce.
External Heat Loads
External heat load is caused by external conditions affecting the transport vehicle. Conduction, infiltration and radiation all fall under this category though infiltration is most prevalent. Infiltration occurs when outside air enters through, cracks, holes or an open trailer door. This can be minimized through trailer inspections and ensuring that any necessary repairs are made in addition to opening the trailer door only when needed.
Residual Heat Loads
Residual heat loads account for heat already in the transport vehicle and any other heat that is not an internal or external heat load. This type of heat load can be minimized by pre-cooling produce so it does not further warm the trailer. If the refrigeration unit is turned off during loading, the quicker the product is loaded with the door shut and refrigeration restored, the less outside air will get in.
Maintaining proper control of these heat loads will have lasting effects for ensuring quality from farm to store. If you’re interested in learning more ways to protect your products as they reach the store, click here to download “10 Ways to Protect Your Product throughout the Supply Chain.”