Reducing strawberry waste and losses in the postharvest supply chain via intelligent distribution management
Deterioration of strawberry quality during distribution can lead to consumer dissatisfaction, losses and reduced sales. Quality deterioration during distribution is most strongly related to initial condition, temperature, and time from harvest to consumer. Our team has developed a shelf life model that uses the temperature history to predict remaining shelf life (above a given quality level) under different conditions, enabling intelligent distribution using a "First-Expired, First-Out" (FEFO) logistical approach. We have demonstrated the applicability of this approach to strawberry distribution within the supply chain in terms of model accuracy, improved and more consistent quality, loss (shrink) reduction, and increased consumer satisfaction and sales. To carry out this project, supply chain tests were conducted in which we evaluated initial quality and instrumented strawberry flats with wireless (RFID) temperature tags at growers, tracking temperature from fields to cooling facilities to distribution centers (DCs) and stores, conducting additional quality evaluations at the DCs and in stores. Our results demonstrate that consumers will be more satisfied with strawberries distributed to stores using a FEFO system based on quality and projected shelf life compared to current "First-In, First-Out" (FIFO) practice due to presentation of fruit with more consistent quality.
Brecht, J.K., Loaza, F.E., Nunes, M.C.N., Emond, J.P., Uysal, I., Badia, F., Wells, J. and Saenz, J. (2016). Reducing strawberry waste and losses in the postharvest supply chain via intelligent distribution management. Acta Hortic. 1120, 253-260
Fragaria × ananassa, radio frequency identification (RFID), shelf life, modeling, quality, logistics