Solving the unique challenges of shipping perishable foods

When shipping perishable products, all of the challenges typically associated with retail supply chain management are magnified because perishable products must be shipped in a carefully controlled environment during storage and shipment. According to FAO Statistics, approximately one-third of all food products (and a staggering 45% of fresh produce) are lost or wasted during harvesting, packaging, transportation, or during trade, often due to non-compliance with temperature limits.

With both in-store demand for fresh food products and shipping costs on the rise, creating an effective loss prevention strategy centered around cost-effectively tracking and collecting the temperature of perishables is more important than ever. Here, we take a deeper dive into the most critical challenges that arise in the logistics of moving perishable food products and how to use technology to safely ensure these shipments arrive on time and in full.

Challenges of Shipping Perishables

With products that move through the cold chain, stakeholders must have insight into the temperature of their shipments to address two key potential failure points:

Inventory Management

Inventory management is a complex yet vital objective for all retail companies. For those that ship and sell perishable products, inventory management is even more challenging. Perishable products tend to have a limited shelf life and thus must be restocked both more frequently and in a more controlled manner.

Increasing Regulatory Requirements

Regulations regarding shipping perishables have only grown stricter in recent years. Today, retailers, manufacturers, and logistics service providers shipping perishable goods must meet a range of regulatory requirements (such as FSMA) regarding how those products are shipped, processed, and stored. While necessary, these requirements often create a heavy burden for those shipping, receiving, or selling perishable products.

Why is Shipment Temperature Tracking Important?

At its most fundamental level, temperature tracking ensures that there is complete transparency when it comes to the condition of temperature-sensitive shipments. Did the product get too hot? Or too cold? And if something went wrong, should the customer reject the load before it hits store shelves?

The ability to cost-effectively track and quickly analyze temperature data enables shippers and logistics service providers to ensure the safety and quality of perishable products upon arrival. Although in some cases it is easy to tell at a glance when perishable products have spoiled, in other cases it’s much more difficult to keep compromised products from slipping through the cracks and winding up in customers’ hands. The best temperature loggers are designed to collect and track a shipment’s temperature and determine where and when the temperature has fallen outside of the acceptable thresholds throughout transit, making it simple to ensure the safety and quality of perishables.

Use Cases: Implementing Cost-Effective Temperature Logging Solutions

Fortunately, new technological solutions exist so that food shippers, manufacturers, and logistics service providers can secure the safety and quality of their cold chain shipments.

Apotek (a subsidiary of Phoenix Group, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company) has found a simple, cost-effective solution for transporting temperature-sensitive drugs in Tive Tag, a cloud-enabled temperature logger in the form of a thin, flexible shipping label and at half the cost of a conventional logger. According to Petter Bojan Herlufsen, Logistics at Apotek, “We’re particularly pleased with the innovation and ease of the technology, as well as the support developing the system according to our wishes. It takes about 30 seconds to start and read a Tive Tag, saving both time and money.”

HAVI Freight Management, a global strategic logistics provider for McDonald’s, also simplifies and ensures the safety of its food transport with temperature logging technology. Ainars Dobulis, Project Manager at HAVI, stated, “Tive Tag’s innovative cold chain solution fulfills McDonald’s high requirements for food quality and customer safety.”

For more information on how to optimize your cold chain with simple-to-use, cost-effective temperature loggers, please visit