What exactly are high-end perishables and what do 3PLs offer this consumer niche? They are typically considered specialty foods such as chocolate, seafood, and organic offerings. These perishables usually have a high price tag because there is special handling involved in many instances. Any blemish, inconsistency, or taste deterioration can affect sales and ultimately brand reputation. It’s essential to ensure a logistics strategy that accommodates all the requirements from shipment to store.
This is not always an easy task in today’s logistics market where pricing, volume, and space can impact margins. – Especially when it is more economical to share containers to save costs. Consumers have their expectations of the product at the retail level but are unaware of the challenges in making those products available for sale.
Challenges have only expanded as greater demand and shorter delivery requirements for high-end perishables emerge. This predicament is driven mostly by emerging E-commerce, organic, and fresh/healthy foods industries.
Like many other product categories, e-commerce is having its impact on high-end perishables as well. Seasonal items ordered via e-commerce are more common and special handling is often required, especially for luxury food products. The cold chain is near capacity in the current strong economy during holiday periods, whether it’s trucking or warehousing, it poses a challenge.
The organic food industry has grown exponentially according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2018 Organic Industry Survey in the U.S. by $3.5 billion, totaling $49.4 billion in 2017, up 6.4 percent from the previous year. There are specific requirements in place for the storage and equipment of organic foods to ensure no possible contamination from non-organic products.
In recent years, there has been more emphasis on what consumers eat. Health professionals recommend avoiding trans fats, buying organic and eating fresh. Many restaurants and other catering businesses are moving away from thawing, cooking and serving frozen ingredients, and instead placing a greater focus on fresh food. This is resulting in changing of the food businesses’ logistics partners need to deliver inventory far more frequently and ensure freshness is maintained throughout the delivery cycle.
For high-end perishables, temperature control is paramount throughout the distribution cycle. For example, candies and frozen foods typically require unique temperature controls. There is a strict range of temperature that must be adhered to each perishable category to maintain the color, taste, and freshness of the products. East Coast Transport ensures the integrity of the perishable by using new technologies for in the warehouse and on the road, to log temperatures frequently, with sensors. If those temperatures are outside specifications, immediate notice is sent to the on-site operations management. Temps are logged into a system that can send a customer report on temperature readings, providing complete transparency. To find out more about how ECT provides perishable load transport to their shippers, contact them today.