Cool and safe food storage is in the bag
Failing to keep frozen or chilled food cold during transport to consumers causes it to deteriorate, potentially leading to food poisoning or waste. An EU-funded project developed an environmentally friendly, flexible and low-cost solution - which could also save retailers and consumers money.
© dreamsquares #208081914, 2019 source: stock.adobe.com
Transporting frozen or chilled food from distribution hubs to consumers homes the so-called last mile involves several challenges. Foremost amongst these is maintaining cold temperatures in an environmentally and financially sustainable way.
The EU-funded IFOODBAG GEN2 project has developed a reusable and recyclable carrier bag offering a low-cost, ecologically sound way of keeping food cold or frozen for last-mile transportation. It comprises a heat-resistant paper material and a zip bound with impermeable glue to make it airtight.
Use by online retailers demonstrated the potential of the original ifoodbag to reduce the carbon footprint from home deliveries by cutting refrigeration requirements in vehicles. By increasing cold chain efficiency, it also reduced the waste and health-related impacts of spoiled food. Based on customer feedback, the project subsequently produced an improved ifoodbag system with an even higher performance and lower costs.
Our last-mile solution combines a paper composite carrier bag the ifoodbag with the optimum amount of passive coolants and a rigid outer container the iBox. It has been proven to extend transportation times to up to 24 hours, if needed, explains project coordinator Robert Grenmark, chief executive officer of ifoodbag in Sweden.
We have also developed a sophisticated calibration and testing method to help customers customise ifoodbag to the needs of their logistics flows which saves money and reduces the environmental impact and a methodology for packing and transporting groceries or other temperature-controlled goods to end-users, he adds.
Quality chilled goods
Commercial trials ensured that the design was in line with applicable production, packaging and cold chain standards so that consumers receive high-quality chilled products with a long lifespan. Keeping the cold chain intact in this way also allows for greater flexibility in terms of delivery methods, increasing convenience for shoppers.
ifoodbags roll-up design cuts down on space needed in vehicles and warehouses. The system also allows refrigerated and frozen food to be stored together during transport, reducing the cost of and time spent on logistics, as well as the potential for errors.
A cost-benefit analysis indicates that by adopting IFOODBAG GEN2, customers can benefit in terms of supply chain management, expenditure, consumer satisfaction and social perception, says Grenmark. Last but not least, this contributes to the fight against plastic.
With IFOODBAG GEN2 set for launch at the end of 2018, the companys production partner and selected distributors have been working on entry into the global market place. An intellectual property rights strategy has been formulated and R&D results have been incorporated into patent registration documentation. The system, process and methodology are patent pending in more than 45 countries, while trademarks, designs and domains are also being registered.