The American diet is changing for the better. According to a recent poll, 67% of consumers are buying more fruits and vegetables than in previous years.
Because fresh local produce is not available in the same location year-round, many shoppers turn to organic frozen fruit and vegetables as an alternative. If you are in the business of distributing frozen fruit and vegetables, read on.
Here are seven tips on how to best transport these perishable goods.
Frozen foods can be shipped by either rail or ground transportation. The method you choose depends on several factors.
Price is one of the most important considerations. Shipping via rail is typically less expensive than by truck, particularly when you are moving goods over large distances.
Transmit times might also impact your decision when choosing a shipping method. How soon do you need to have the items arrive at their destination?
You also need to take into consideration the quantity of product you need to ship. If you are shipping large quantities, rail can fit more into a single car than four ground trucks can.
Smaller shipments can be sent via either truck or rail. Yet, the cost per item is higher than when you have a full load.
The best way to ensure that your frozen produce remains frozen during transport is to use refrigerated trailers and cars. Also known as reefers, these freezer trucks and train cars can keep your items ice cold.
If you are not using a frozen car, you can transport frozen fruit and vegetables with the help of a few important tools.
Freezer blankets are one of these important tools. These are necessary if you aren’t using freezers. Freezer blankets are water-resistant, insulated, and will help keep your goods at the right temperature.
Additionally, you will need freezer pallet covers. These are water-resistant and insulated. The great thing about freezer pallet covers is that they still give you access to your goods on all four sides.
Lastly, insulated boxes can assist you in your transportation endeavors. They come in a range of sizes and work much like a freezer. They are lightweight and easy to arrange within a truck or car. Best of all, you can choose the size of the insulated box that works best for your products.
The great thing about these freezer alternatives is that they are reusable. You will make the upfront investment and can use them many times to come. However, you have to consider the distance and the amount of time these tools can protect your items to know if these are viable options for your frozen goods.
Several hours before you begin loading, be sure to set the thermostat to the required temperature in the truck or rail car. To avoid having a partial thaw of your goods, it is critical that you pre-set the temperature. It may take a couple of hours for the rail car to reach the appropriate temperature, but this will ensure the preservation of your goods throughout their transport.
You may have heard that it is important to ensure air circulation around pallets. While this is true of fresh goods, it is not true for frozen goods. When it comes to frozen goods, you need to pack them tightly together to allow the air to circulate the perimeter of the truck or car.
You will also want to keep your frozen goods in the center of the space as much as is possible. The floors and walls of your transportation unit are the warmest spaces–by loading your goods near the middle, and packing them together, they successfully keep each other at an appropriate temperature.
Even slight damage to the truck or rail car can prevent the space from maintaining the correct temperature for your organic frozen fruit and vegetables. Always be sure to do a thorough check before you load your goods–pay particular inspection for the seals in order to prevent air leaks.
Additionally, check for broken or damaged seams or walls. Either of these could allow moisture to damage the unit’s installation during the route. If everything looks to be in good working order, you can confidently load your product in. Once your product is loaded, double-check the door seal to be cautious.
You might be surprised to learn that the cleanliness of your transport vessel can impact your frozen goods. It’s true! Clean equipment prevents bacteria contamination along with odor or chemical contamination.
After each load, discard any debris, sweep or wash the floors and clean the drains. This is the only way to ensure you remove all bacteria and odors.
As a bonus tip, you can also consider placing a can of coffee grounds in a corner to absorb smells between uses.
Transit is just one part of getting your frozen produce from the warehouse to its final destination. It’s also important to consider the loading and unloading process. These steps can be time-consuming, and if not done properly, a poor, overly timely unloading process can cause you to have to sacrifice a large amount of your product.
Make sure the loading docks have curtains at the entry point to keep the temperature regulated. Additionally, confirm that the destination has measures in place to manage the temperature so as to allow your product to stay safe until it reaches the end user.
There you have them; seven tips on how to transport frozen fruits and vegetables with success!
At SunLeaf, we strive to be your partner in all of your plant-based food needs. We’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to learn how we can assist your business!