Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Food Safety’

Five Food Retail Trends Shaping the Store of the Future

Katrina Krites | Director of Strategic Marketing, Cold Chain

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

From convenience stores (C-stores) to small-format grocers to large supermarkets, the food retail landscape has shifted significantly in recent years. To survive, store owners and their service technicians have been forced to quickly adapt and implement new operational strategies. In a recent article that appeared in Chain Store Age, I explored five of the leading trends that food retailers will need to be aware of when navigating the road ahead and planning the store of the future. You can also view our formatted article here.

The pandemic created a seismic shift in consumer buying habits, driving many customers toward online, click-and-collect and home delivery for the first time. Although this shift was born out of caution, many consumers have grown to appreciate the lasting convenience of these digital business models. To meet the continuous demand, retailers have had to shore up their e-fulfillment capabilities — without compromising food quality and safety.

Implementing more sustainable operations has also become a higher priority, as environmental regulations call for the phasedown of high-global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants and improved energy efficiencies. As a result, retailers are closely weighing the impacts of their refrigerant choices, energy consumption and leak detection capabilities.

To adapt to these new market requirements and prepare for a future that will present unexpected challenges, retailers are seeking tools that help them to monitor and manage their operations — in individual stores and across their fleet networks. Modern building management systems (BMS) and supervisory control software are providing the technological foundation on which retailers can meet their myriad operational objectives and scale with future business changes.

With these key factors in mind, let’s look at the five trends shaping the food retail store of the future.

1. Focus on in-store customer experiences.
Creating comfortable, inviting and safe shopping experiences for customers will continue to be a differentiator for food retailers. A BMS is ideal for its ability to continually optimize in-store shopping environments for maximum consumer engagement and occupant well-being, such as preventing excessively cold temperatures in frozen food aisles or poor ventilation in food preparation areas.

A BMS can help store owners/operators to control store ambiance and energy consumption by automatically brightening or dimming shopping aisles, workspaces, shopping zones or curbside pickup stations. Make sure your BMS has advanced and easy-to-use scheduling features to help you optimize lighting.

2. Meet sustainability initiatives.
Meeting a wide range of rigorous sustainability targets requires an understanding of the total equivalent warming impact (TEWI) of HVACR and lighting systems. In refrigeration systems, TEWI accounts for the direct impacts of refrigerant leaks as well as the indirect impacts of a system’s energy consumption. Look for a BMS that will help you to achieve those goals by supporting advanced energy optimization and sustainability best practices, including variable frequency drive (VFD) management, suction group algorithms and effective leak detection programs.

3. Connect to data-driven insights.
Modern food retailers have an opportunity to leverage operational data gathered from connected devices, systems and technologies — also known as the internet of things (IoT) — for an abundance of real-time and historic insights into optimal store performance. A BMS can consolidate all systems, equipment and connected devices while enabling remote, web-based access to allow off-site technicians and staff to remotely monitor systems, troubleshoot and resolve issues. Look for a BMS that supports seamless connectivity with enterprise management software to extend your visibility and insights across a network of stores.

4. Preserve food safety and reduce waste.
The ability to maintain precise temperatures in refrigerated or frozen cases is imperative for maximizing freshness while minimizing food waste (shrink). A BMS controller should allow store operators to view their refrigeration assets from one place and continually monitor performance, temperatures and defrost schedules. By triggering alarms at the first detection of “out-of-tolerance” conditions, a BMS can enable operators and technicians to take the necessary actions to preserve food quality and prevent waste. Combined with enterprise management software, case-level data can be leveraged to generate a variety of food-related reports to validate temperature precision and support hazard and critical control points (HACCP) compliance standards.

5. Streamline energy management and optimization.
To meet sustainability objectives and address rising electricity costs, retailers will need new energy management and optimization tools. Traditional grocery store building envelopes will continue to evolve toward smaller store formats, and the introduction of e-fulfillment business models will also impact store energy profiles. For many operators, lowering energy consumption and/or qualifying for rebates and incentives will require energy retrofits, demand management and load-shedding arrangements with participating utilities. Because participation in these programs requires coordination and clear communications between facilities and utilities, operators will need connected infrastructures and BMS controllers to take advantage of these opportunities and fine-tune energy consumption within their building envelopes.

At Emerson, we are designing powerful BMS solutions that are built to scale with the lifecycles of modern food retail operations. The Lumity™ E3 supervisory control and its robust software provide the tools retailers need to optimize their critical systems today and adapt to meet their changing business models in the future.

 

Highlighting Cold Chain Best Practices During National Food Safety Education Month

         Greg Polce | Vice President of Marketing – Cold Chain

          Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designates September as National Food Safety Education Month. Their goals are to raise awareness about how to prevent food poisoning and educate the population on best practices for keeping food safe. At Emerson, we’re committed to protecting and preserving food safety throughout the various links within the food cold chain. To help in the CDC’s efforts to raise awareness, we would like to highlight some of the key areas where our cold chain tools and technologies are playing integral roles in this important mission.

 

Ensuring a safe food supply chain is essential for supporting human health and well-being. Supermarkets, restaurants and convenience store (C-store) sectors rely on a safe and effective food cold chain for their reputations. Consumers place food safety and quality among the most important factors when selecting a location in which to dine or shop.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought more public awareness to the topics of food safety, handling standards and best practices. Not surprisingly, the CDC has reported a lower rate of foodborne illness outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic — likely attributable to the renewed emphases on proper hand washing, hygiene and surface sanitation procedures. But to achieve comprehensive food safety, it’s also important to combine safe handling protocols with robust temperature management during the transportation, cold storage and preparation phases of the food cold chain.

Let’s look at some of the ways Emerson can help to monitor temperatures during these key steps.

Harvesting and processing

The freshness and safety of perishable produce and proteins can be protected by controlling temperatures via flash cooling/freezing, temporary staging in storage coolers, and pre-cooling shipping containers. Emerson provides pulp temperature-probing devices to measure internal product temperatures during the staging and loading processes. Our real-time temperature monitoring and tracking devices can be placed inside a shipping container to provide location, temperatures and other environmental conditions of in-transit perishable shipments.

Transportation

The cold chain journey can last anywhere from days to weeks — by truck, sea and/or air — and shippers should be able to ensure an unbroken chain of temperature certainty throughout. Transport containers must be equipped to maintain strict temperatures and provide visibility to internal conditions. Emerson’s field-tested compression technologies are built to withstand the rigors of the road to help stakeholders keep transport refrigeration systems at specified temperature ranges. Our complete line of temperature monitoring, logging and tracking devices — combined with our cloud-based software portal — enables live remote monitoring and alert notifications based on user-defined parameters.

Cold storage distribution centers

Upon receipt at cold storage facilities, quality assurance (QA) personnel must inspect product conditions according to their Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and/or Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventative Controls (HARPC) plans. Typically, this process starts by taking pulp temperatures and reviewing trip data from Emerson’s logging and tracking devices to validate that product was held at proper temperatures throughout the journey. After inspection, handlers must promptly transfer perishable cargo into a designated cold storage temperature zone.

Within these cold storage facilities, Emerson’s compression and refrigeration technologies help operators to establish and maintain proper temperatures in various cold storage zones. Our robust facility monitoring solutions help operators to remotely oversee conditions, ensure proper temperatures, and automatically record temperatures for use in HACCP reporting.

Grocery stores

Store operators take ownership of food quality and safety when perishable shipments are unloaded in supermarkets. This starts by checking pulp temperatures and trip data logs and continues with the prompt transfer of perishables into designated cold storage coolers or freezers. Once in cold storage, Emerson’s Lumity™ E3 supervisory control platform helps retailers to monitor perishable temperatures and optimize food quality.

For decades, the supermarket industry has relied on Copeland™ compression and refrigeration technologies as the collective foundation for their cold storage capabilities. Today, we’re developing sustainable refrigeration solutions with variable-capacity modulation to improve reliability, temperature precision and energy efficiencies in a variety of refrigeration architectures.

Restaurants

Restaurants assume responsibility for both the cold storage of perishable products as well as the safety concerns associated with food preparation. Staff must be trained in safe cooking best practices, such as those provided by the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® certification course. Cook-and-hold procedures should also follow established HACCP/HARPC plans, with a dual focus on the prevention of bacterial growth and maximizing food quality/safety.

Emerson provides a wide range of technologies to automate data collection and reporting necessary to implement best practices and meet local health inspection requirements:

To learn more about how Emerson is helping to protect food quality and safety throughout the food cold chain, please view this infographic.

 

Supermarket Food Safety: Emerson Cold Chain Solutions

Katrina Krites | Marketing and Business Development

Manager, Food Retail

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

Providing consistently safe and high-quality food in supermarkets is important to each stakeholder in the food retail supply chain. From farm to fork, grocers depend on their cold chain suppliers to collect, share and report on the handling and shipping practices that contribute to food safety. In the first blog based on an article in PerishableNews.com, we examined food retail market trends and risk factors impacting food safety and quality. In this companion blog, we will explore how Emerson is helping food retailers and stakeholders address these challenges at nearly every step of the food supply chain.

Harvest and processing

The potential decay of perishable produce starts the moment it is picked, but this can be stunted by controlling temperatures and the ambient environment via: flash cooling/freezing; temporary staging in storage coolers; and pre-cooling shipping containers. Shipping containers may be modified with ripening agents, and processors often measure the levels of ethylene, a natural gas that can accelerate ripening.

Emerson provides temperature-probing devices that can be used to measure internal “pulp” temperatures prior to and during the staging and loading processes. Our real-time temperature monitoring and tracking devices can be activated inside a shipping container to immediately begin monitoring location, temperatures and other environmental conditions of in-transit perishable shipments.

Transportation

Food’s journey to supermarket shelves can last anywhere from days to weeks — by truck, sea and/or air — and grocers rely on their shippers to provide an unbroken chain of temperature certainty. Loading best practices promote airflow and shipments to be “load locked” in order to limit excess vibration. Transport containers must be able to maintain temperatures and provide visibility into container conditions. Mixed-load cargos may have different refrigerated temperature zones within the same shipment.

Emerson’s field-tested, proven compression technologies can withstand the rigors of the road while helping operators to ensure that their transport refrigeration systems preserve product at specified temperature ranges. Temperature monitoring, logging and tracking devices — combined with our cloud-based software portal — can provide real-time temperature and location conditions of product in-transit. The software enables live remote monitoring and issues alerts to stakeholders based on user-defined parameters, such as: temperature excursions; changes to shipping atmosphere; vibration; security breaches; and shipping delays.

Cold storage distribution centers

Upon receipt of food at a cold storage facility, handlers must inspect product temperatures and conditions, including pulp temperatures with probing devices, and trip data from logging and tracking devices. Relying on only the ambient air temperature of the shipping container is not an accurate measure, as some carriers may turn off the refrigeration system during shipping to preserve fuel. After inspection, handlers must promptly transfer perishable cargo into a designated cold storage temperature zone. The entire process must adhere to each facility’s established Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and/or Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventative Controls (HARPC) plans.

Emerson’s logging and tracking devices give end-users the ability to maintain live, remote visibility for monitoring the temperatures and locations of their in-transit shipping containers. In cold storage facilities, our compression and refrigeration technologies help operators to establish and maintain proper temperatures in various cold storage zones. Robust facility monitoring solutions help operators to remotely oversee conditions, ensure proper temperatures, and automatically record temperatures for use in HACCP reporting.

Grocery stores

From the moments perishable shipments are unloaded in supermarkets, operators take ownership of food quality and safety. This starts with inspection — checking pulp temperatures and trip data logs — and continues with the prompt transfer of perishables into designated cold storage coolers or freezers. Once in cold storage, control platforms help retailers to monitor perishable temperatures and optimize food quality.

Refrigerated storage and staging coolers for click-and-collect fulfillment must have sufficient capacity to handle fluctuations in order volumes and frequent opening/closing of walk-in doors. Order-picking processes and customer pick-ups and deliveries must be optimized to ensure safe handling and proper temperatures. Supermarket food preparation introduces hot-side complexities as consumers look to grocers for home meal replacements. Staff must be trained in safe cooking best practices — such as those provided by the U.S. National Restaurant Association’s (NRA’s) ServSafe® certification course — and cook-and-hold procedures should also follow established HACCP/HARPC plans.

In addition to our proven compression and refrigeration technologies, Emerson solutions address a variety of modern supermarket requirements. These include condensing units with variable-capacity modulation to precisely match refrigeration load requirements and flexible distributed architectures that can augment existing refrigeration systems. We also offer a suite of temperature-probing devices to help grocers automate the recording of prepared food temperatures and assist grocers with food safety and process compliance concerns.

Our powerful facility management, monitoring and control platforms address both existing and emerging food retail complexities. These tools provide near real-time access to critical information to help retailers track, triage and respond to issues pertaining to food quality and safety compliance — in individual stores and across their multi-site networks. In addition, these control platforms utilize alarms, notifications and remote access to provide end-users with continuous building and refrigeration monitoring at any retail location.

Connectivity drives cold chain visibility

Modern food retailers are held to increasingly higher food safety and quality standards. Store operators, consumers and health inspectors all demand greater transparency into the food supply chain and improved visibility of food’s journey from farm to fork. With today’s connected internet of things (IoT) monitoring and tracking infrastructures, operators now have the potential for visibility into each step of food’s journey — and even the possibility for comprehensive cold chain traceability. Emerson provides the refrigeration technologies and IoT-enabled infrastructures to help stakeholders at each point monitor, control and track a variety of conditions necessary for preserving food safety and quality.

 

 

 

Supermarket Food Safety: Emerson Cold Chain Solutions

Katrina Krites | Marketing and Business Development

Manager, Food Retail

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

Providing consistently safe and high-quality food in supermarkets is important to each stakeholder in the food retail supply chain. From farm to fork, grocers depend on their cold chain suppliers to collect, share and report on the handling and shipping practices that contribute to food safety. In the first blog based on an article in PerishableNews.com, we examined food retail market trends and risk factors impacting food safety and quality. In this companion blog, we will explore how Emerson is helping food retailers and stakeholders address these challenges at nearly every step of the food supply chain.

Harvest and processing

The potential decay of perishable produce starts the moment it is picked, but this can be stunted by controlling temperatures and the ambient environment via: flash cooling/freezing; temporary staging in storage coolers; and pre-cooling shipping containers. Shipping containers may be modified with ripening agents, and processors often measure the levels of ethylene, a natural gas that can accelerate ripening.

Emerson provides temperature-probing devices that can be used to measure internal “pulp” temperatures prior to and during the staging and loading processes. Our real-time temperature monitoring and tracking devices can be activated inside a shipping container to immediately begin monitoring location, temperatures and other environmental conditions of in-transit perishable shipments.

Transportation

Food’s journey to supermarket shelves can last anywhere from days to weeks — by truck, sea and/or air — and grocers rely on their shippers to provide an unbroken chain of temperature certainty. Loading best practices promote airflow and shipments to be “load locked” in order to limit excess vibration. Transport containers must be able to maintain temperatures and provide visibility into container conditions. Mixed-load cargos may have different refrigerated temperature zones within the same shipment.

Emerson’s field-tested, proven compression technologies can withstand the rigors of the road while helping operators to ensure that their transport refrigeration systems preserve product at specified temperature ranges. Temperature monitoring, logging and tracking devices — combined with our cloud-based software portal — can provide real-time temperature and location conditions of product in-transit. The software enables live remote monitoring and issues alerts to stakeholders based on user-defined parameters, such as: temperature excursions; changes to shipping atmosphere; vibration; security breaches; and shipping delays.

Cold storage distribution centers

Upon receipt of food at a cold storage facility, handlers must inspect product temperatures and conditions, including pulp temperatures with probing devices, and trip data from logging and tracking devices. Relying on only the ambient air temperature of the shipping container is not an accurate measure, as some carriers may turn off the refrigeration system during shipping to preserve fuel. After inspection, handlers must promptly transfer perishable cargo into a designated cold storage temperature zone. The entire process must adhere to each facility’s established Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and/or Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventative Controls (HARPC) plans.

Emerson’s logging and tracking devices give end-users the ability to maintain live, remote visibility for monitoring the temperatures and locations of their in-transit shipping containers. In cold storage facilities, our compression and refrigeration technologies help operators to establish and maintain proper temperatures in various cold storage zones. Robust facility monitoring solutions help operators to remotely oversee conditions, ensure proper temperatures, and automatically record temperatures for use in HACCP reporting.

Grocery stores

From the moments perishable shipments are unloaded in supermarkets, operators take ownership of food quality and safety. This starts with inspection — checking pulp temperatures and trip data logs — and continues with the prompt transfer of perishables into designated cold storage coolers or freezers. Once in cold storage, control platforms help retailers to monitor perishable temperatures and optimize food quality.

Refrigerated storage and staging coolers for click-and-collect fulfillment must have sufficient capacity to handle fluctuations in order volumes and frequent opening/closing of walk-in doors. Order-picking processes and customer pick-ups and deliveries must be optimized to ensure safe handling and proper temperatures. Supermarket food preparation introduces hot-side complexities as consumers look to grocers for home meal replacements. Staff must be trained in safe cooking best practices — such as those provided by the U.S. National Restaurant Association’s (NRA’s) ServSafe® certification course — and cook-and-hold procedures should also follow established HACCP/HARPC plans.

In addition to our proven compression and refrigeration technologies, Emerson solutions address a variety of modern supermarket requirements. These include condensing units with variable-capacity modulation to precisely match refrigeration load requirements and flexible distributed architectures that can augment existing refrigeration systems. We also offer a suite of temperature-probing devices to help grocers automate the recording of prepared food temperatures and assist grocers with food safety and process compliance concerns.

Our powerful facility management, monitoring and control platforms address both existing and emerging food retail complexities. These tools provide near real-time access to critical information to help retailers track, triage and respond to issues pertaining to food quality and safety compliance — in individual stores and across their multi-site networks. In addition, these control platforms utilize alarms, notifications and remote access to provide end-users with continuous building and refrigeration monitoring at any retail location.

Connectivity drives cold chain visibility

Modern food retailers are held to increasingly higher food safety and quality standards. Store operators, consumers and health inspectors all demand greater transparency into the food supply chain and improved visibility of food’s journey from farm to fork. With today’s connected internet of things (IoT) monitoring and tracking infrastructures, operators now have the potential for visibility into each step of food’s journey — and even the possibility for comprehensive cold chain traceability. Emerson provides the refrigeration technologies and IoT-enabled infrastructures to help stakeholders at each point monitor, control and track a variety of conditions necessary for preserving food safety and quality.

 

 

 

 

 

Pandemic Reveals Importance of Cold Chain Integrity

Andre Patenaude | Director – Solutions Integration, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Even the most resilient food supply chains are being challenged in ways never imagined before the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, consumers, retailers and regulators are demanding more visibility and transparency into food’s entire journey — from meat, dairy and produce plants all the way through to dinner tables, according to a recent Food Logistics article for which I was interviewed. Also quoted were my colleagues, Katrina Krites, marketing and business development manager, food retail, and Amy Childress, vice president of marketing and planning, Cargo Solutions, both with Emerson’s cold chain business.

The food supply chain is one of the segments hardest hit by the pandemic. Consumers quickly switched their buying behaviors from brick-and-mortar stores to online groceries. Spikes in demand and disruptions throughout the food supply chain led to acute shortages of certain product categories. One-third of consumers surveyed in NPD Group’s NET COVID-19 Pantry & Food Strategy Tracker still experience out-of-stock inventory months after the outbreak began.

It’s no wonder then that 81 percent of shoppers say transparency is important or extremely important to them, both online and in-store, according to a study by FMI, The Food Industry Association. Responses to the survey also revealed that consumers believe grocery retailers should provide detailed product information. Food safety clearly remains a top concern because of pandemic-related interruptions.

Delivering safe, high-quality food starts with understanding everything that contributes to food quality and safety throughout the cold chain. It’s staggering to realize that there can be potentially as many as 20 to 30 individual steps and multiple changes of ownership throughout this journey. Stakeholders at each point are now able to monitor, control and track a variety of conditions necessary for preserving food quality, including temperature, humidity, lighting and more.

Providing this greater visibility and management of inventory will require operators across the supply chain to integrate cold chain monitoring solutions and other technologies to assure food safety and on-time delivery. In addition, operators will need to implement the following:

  • Stringent operational processes
  • Enhanced supplier sourcing
  • Strong company relationships
  • An overarching standard to produce, deliver and sell food safely and ethically

See into the cold chain in real-time

Food chains have historically been opaque, long and complex. Increasingly, they are becoming more transparent, shorter and traceable. That’s occurring because consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and how it’s been handled. The impacts of the pandemic significantly increased the urgency behind this push.

According to Dan Crossley, executive director for Food Ethics Council, the question businesses should be asking is, “If our customers could see everything about how our food is produced, distributed, stored and sold, would they still want my product?”

One way to answer this question is by improving cold chain integrity. As Amy explained in the article, Emerson participates in the IBM Food Trust, where we leverage advanced cold chain technology “to provide temperature-related information on in-transit, refrigerated cargo to improve shelf-life estimates and food freshness, enabling more actionable data for IBM Food Trust network members.”

Smarter approaches to food safety

Expanding use of real-time and near real-time tracking devices and cloud-enabled software systems to monitor in-transit shipping conditions will also help operators to ensure food safety and quality. This is especially critical to keeping up with the global demand for year-round access to perishable products. Consumers want a variety of fresh produce, regardless of the location of its origin or the complex cold chain necessary to transport it by land, sea and/or air. The supply chain begins at the point of harvest and continues through processing, cold storage and distribution — all before the food ever begins the last-mile delivery to a store, restaurant or consumer. Overseas shipments can often last anywhere from two to four weeks.

Precise tracking of the condition of this food is possible with advanced hardware and software systems. For example, ProAct™ Connect+ enterprise management software from Emerson can help retailers by providing near real-time access to critical information to help retailers immediately monitor, triage and respond to issues across their multi-site networks. It also provides alarms/notifications using Emerson’s Site Supervisor and E2 facility management systems to provide continuous building and refrigeration monitoring at any location and across the enterprise.

As Katrina said in the article, “By providing enterprise management of refrigeration and other key facility systems, ProAct Connect+ can help retailers preserve food quality while meeting food safety compliance mandates.”

In-transit monitoring of food temperature, location, light, security and other sensor data for perishable cargo can be accomplished with Emerson’s GO real-time loggers and trackers and complimentary cloud-based online portal, Oversight 2. The solution’s automated reporting, real-time alerts and historical reports increase visibility into the status of in-transit cargo.

New normal: Verify food in-transit

The pandemic exposed areas of the global food supply chain that are susceptible to disruption by rapid changes in consumer behavior as well as food safety concerns. Food must be resupplied faster and kept fresh longer. Building these capabilities along with resiliency into the supply chain, will require even more focus amid our “new normal.” Those efforts will begin with the implementation of cold chain technologies that enable businesses to verify the condition of food at any and every step in its journey from producers to consumers.

 

%d bloggers like this: