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How to Reduce Food Loss and Boost Customer Loyalty with Precise Temperature Monitoring

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Strawberries with white fuzzy mold. Temperature monitoring with precision data loggers preserves customer relationships as well as perishables

Key Takeaways:

  • An enormous amount of food – almost two billion tons – is lost or wasted each year
  • Food loss costs $1.2 trillion annually
  • About 32% of loads are being rejected, far above the industry standard
  • The FMSA requires accurate temperature reporting, something that’s impossible without a temperature data logger
  • Customers want products with a long shelf life and no spoilage, and delivering ensures customer loyalty

Food loss is a global problem. Almost two billion tons of food valued at $1.2 trillion is lost or wasted annually. Much of this loss can be attributed to failures in the cold chain, and improvement in transportation conditions alone could save $150 billion yearly. While the industry standard for rejected loads is 10% to 14%, that number now stands at 32%. The question is how to reduce food loss.

The high rejection rate exacerbates the food loss problem and creates strained customer relationships. Cold chain logistics are complicated and are hampered by poor visibility and a lack of data. If a load of food – especially produce – is rejected because of a temperature problem that caused spoilage, there’s no alternative but to dump it. 

That rejected load means your customer has nothing to sell, and you can’t blame them for being unhappy and perhaps even looking to your competition. Cold chain best practices include temperature data logging for continuous real-time monitoring during food transportation.

With the right temperature monitoring equipment, you have proof that the load was transported at the proper temperature, or alternately, where there were transport failures so that they can be remedied. This cold chain intelligence can give you quite a competitive advantage.

Temperature monitoring is essential to reduce food loss and protect your reputation

An effective cold chain can keep food loss to as low as 2%, but breaks in the cold chain can happen anywhere and cause damage to perishables. It’s the Goldilocks problem: too hot or too cold. The challenge is keeping things just right. Even small temperature fluctuations can make a big difference in food quality. Not all sub-standard perishable food loads are rejected, however. Some issues don’t show up until consumers have their produce in their refrigerators.

In the United States, 48 million people annually get sick from foodborne diseases, and 3,000 die. Food safety is the entire supply chain’s responsibility, from growers to distributors, and everyone suffers economically and reputationally if your load is rejected. Rejected loads create a chain of events that can lead to damaged relationships all the way around. 

Let’s say a receiver buys blueberries, and the product arrives in bad shape, so the load is rejected. Who is to blame, and who pays? With a temperature data logger, you can prove that the transportation temperatures were properly maintained. Without that visibility, you have no proof, and you could quite possibly be left with the blame and face the loss of a customer.

There’s a simple solution that will give you cold supply chain visibility and mitigate the risks to your business, your client’s business, and consumers – temperature data loggers. For perishable cargo, every step of the cold chain must be monitored to ensure product quality and safety. 

Temperature data loggers document temperature history

The cold chain faces several risks, including refrigerator and freezer issues, power failures, alarm events that occur at night or on weekends, and human error, such as leaving a freezer door open. Another risk is regulatory compliance. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) created a sea change: the focus is on preventing food contamination rather than responding to it. 

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is also designed to prevent hazards. This law sets best practices for food safety throughout the cold chain, from raw materials to distribution and consumption, using documentation and measurement. 

Temperature data loggers are made to collect and store temperature and other measurement values such as vibration. This automated technology is more reliable and accurate than manual measurements. The temperature recorders connected to temperature sensors not only record readings but also include automatic alarms for an all-in-one solution. 

Why use temperature data loggers?

Data loggers can prove that the shipment was kept at the appropriate temperature throughout its journey. Manual temperature data collection is an outmoded, error-prone method. Automated temperature monitoring and data collection mean accurate information that’s automatically saved and archived with no human intervention. 

  • It’s easy to provide accurate reporting to FMSA regulators that your shipment was kept at the specified temperature
  • In the case of a rejected shipment, you can provide your customer with proof of precise temperature control
  • You’ll have fewer rejected shipments
  • You’ll have real-time data and automatic alarms

In addition, data loggers provide a high level of accuracy, detecting and recording the slightest temperature variations. Using this technology will improve your shipping operations for higher profitability. 

Temperature data loggers and the customer experience

When it comes to customer loyalty, there’s nothing more impressive than a consistent product experience. Great customer relationships can be built or enhanced when you deliver perishables with maximum shelf life. They’ll also be impressed with your accurate reports and guaranteed compliance with best practices and regulations. 

Your customers also take comfort in knowing that if there are problems, automated alarms enable them to be solved quickly. Real-time visibility is invaluable in customer service and can be a strong competitive differentiator. By protecting product freshness, quality, and safety, you can enhance your reputation and your bottom line. 

Get more out of your cold chain and take a proactive approach with temperature data logging. It provides an opportunity to differentiate your company by providing superior product quality, which engenders customer loyalty, which in turn offers greater profitability.

Marathon Products: Precisely monitor temperatures of perishables

Marathon Products is a leading manufacturer and distributor of precision environmental monitoring devices for temperature, humidity, and vibration for the food and agricultural industries. 

Check out our C\Temp-LCD temperature data logger with real-time LCD for instant acceptance or quarantine decisions of your perishable shipments. Explore the MaxiLog, a multi-use, user-programmable, electronic temperature data recorder specifically designed for measuring and documenting temperatures during transportation of refrigerated vaccines, biological material, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other perishable commodities. And learn more about all the exceptional, reliable DDLs Marathon Products has to offer.

All of our devices are 100% tested to ensure reliability, and we have a no-questions-asked return policy. We have monitoring devices that answer the question of how to reduce food waste and loss. Our precision devices are priced competitively, so don’t ship without us! For more information, email us at or call us at 800-858-6872.

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