Perishable goods, such as chilled and frozen foods, have a short shelf life and high sensitivity to their surrounding environment (e.g., temperature, humidity, and light intensity). For this reason, they must be distributed within a specific time and require special equipment and facilities (e.g., refrigeration and dehumidification systems) throughout the entire chain from farm to fork to ensure slow deterioration and to deliver safe and high-quality products to consumers. Cold chains can last for short periods, such as a few hours, or for several months or even years (e.g., frozen food products) depending on the product and the target market. A huge amount of energy is required to preserve quality by maintaining the desired temperature level over time. The required energy is also affected by inventory management policies (e.g., warehouse filling levels affect the cooling demand per unit of a product) and the behavior of the operators (e.g., number and duration of door openings). Furthermore, waste entails the loss of energy and other resources consumed for processing and storing these products. The aim of the present study is to propose a quantitative approach in order to map the energy flows throughout the cold chain in the food and beverage sector and to evaluate the overall energy performance. The results of the energy flow mapping give decisionmakers insights into the minimum energy required by the cold chain and allow them to prioritize energy efficiency measures by detecting the most energy consuming stages of the cold chain. The implementation of a holistic approach, shifting from a single-company perspective to chain assessment, leads to a global optimum and to an increased implementation rate of energy efficiency measures due to the reduced barriers perceived by different actors of the cold chain.

Cold Chain Energy Analysis for Sustainable Food and Beverage Supply

Marchi B.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Zanoni S.
Writing – Review & Editing
2022-01-01

Abstract

Perishable goods, such as chilled and frozen foods, have a short shelf life and high sensitivity to their surrounding environment (e.g., temperature, humidity, and light intensity). For this reason, they must be distributed within a specific time and require special equipment and facilities (e.g., refrigeration and dehumidification systems) throughout the entire chain from farm to fork to ensure slow deterioration and to deliver safe and high-quality products to consumers. Cold chains can last for short periods, such as a few hours, or for several months or even years (e.g., frozen food products) depending on the product and the target market. A huge amount of energy is required to preserve quality by maintaining the desired temperature level over time. The required energy is also affected by inventory management policies (e.g., warehouse filling levels affect the cooling demand per unit of a product) and the behavior of the operators (e.g., number and duration of door openings). Furthermore, waste entails the loss of energy and other resources consumed for processing and storing these products. The aim of the present study is to propose a quantitative approach in order to map the energy flows throughout the cold chain in the food and beverage sector and to evaluate the overall energy performance. The results of the energy flow mapping give decisionmakers insights into the minimum energy required by the cold chain and allow them to prioritize energy efficiency measures by detecting the most energy consuming stages of the cold chain. The implementation of a holistic approach, shifting from a single-company perspective to chain assessment, leads to a global optimum and to an increased implementation rate of energy efficiency measures due to the reduced barriers perceived by different actors of the cold chain.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11379/565901
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