Cold Chain Supply: The Role Ice Plays

Moving temperature-sensitive goods dates back to 1797 when natural ice was used by British fishermen to preserve fish catches while out at sea. In the late 1870s, France was beginning to receive large shipments of frozen meat from South America. Great Britain was also importing frozen beef from Australia and frozen pork and mutton from New Zealand. By 1902, bananas (formerly an exotic fruit with a small market) had become one of the world’s most consumed fruits – thanks to cold storage producers and traders were able to extend the shelf life of fresh perishables. By 1910, more than 600,000 tons of frozen meat was being brought to Great Britain. Early methods of cold storage and preservation was to use natural ice harvested from local freshwater lakes during the winter, then used to help maintain colder temperature of product in storage or during transportation to distribution terminals and retail markets.

How Cold Foods Stay Cold Throughout the Supply Chain

The majority of today’s consumers have little idea of exactly how cold and frozen items arrive at the local grocery store without spoiling. Although globalization has lessened the relative distance between world regions, there is still a very real physical separation. This physical separation increases the likelihood of temperature variations damaging foods or other goods. The quality of some foods and other goods labeled as perishables can degrade over time if every step in the cold chain is not precisely followed, this is why supply chain professionals world wide often rely on fresh HoweIce to extend the shelf life of perishables.

The Science, the Technology, the Process

According to The Cold Chain and Its Logistics, the cold chain is a science, a technology, and a process. The science aspect relates to the necessity of understanding the chemical and biological processes associated with preserving perishables. The technology refers to the physical means by which we ensure correct temperature conditions throughout the supply chain, and the process encompasses the tasks performed in preparation, storage, transportation, and temperature monitoring. Thus, the primary elements of the cold chain include cooling systems, cold storage, cold transport, cold processing, and cold distribution. These mechanical methods of cooling, or more precisely removing heat from products use a variety of refrigerants to preserve the products.

The Role of Ice in the Cold Chain Supply

As you might imagine, ice is a critical component of the cold chain, in fact ice was probably the primary method of controlling and maintaining safe temperatures in fresh product long before mechanical refrigeration was readily available. Flake ice for cold chain is the most cost-effective type of ice for cooling a wide variety of consumer products, including freshly caught fish, poultry, produce, dairy, and certain bakery items. Flake ice for cold chain is widely used in the food processing industry, which means you can find Flake ice throughout every step of the supply chain from sea to plate and farm to plate.

Flake ice has more than 17,000 square ft. of surface area per ton of ice. This high surface contact area provides much greater cooling efficiency than any other type of ice. The dry, flat flakes produced in flake ice allow greater contact area for preserving perishables. Flake ice is also ideal for maintaining the integrity of the product. No bruising or denting of delicate fish or produce ensures the customers enjoys the essence of the fresh catch or harvest! HoweIce is used extensively throughout various food segments, besides fresh fish & seafood, HoweIce can be found cooling freshly harvested corn, broccoli, green beans and leafy vegetables. Fresh produce is harvested and packed with HoweIce as it is harvested to remove what is called field heat. To extend its shelf life delicate produce must have its field heat removed quickly and efficiently, Flake ice is the go-to choice for produce harvesters.

Howe Flake Ice Machines—Industry Leaders

The success of industries that rely on the cold chain is dependent on understanding the process and ensuring temperature control every step of the way. Howe flake ice is the “original” flake ice. Howe has built its reputation on being an industry leader in food cooling applications. Our ice flakers are long- lasting—we outlast the competition by 2-3 times in product life cycle. Not only do we manufacture the most energy-efficient machines available to the market, we also provide versatility—a wide range of models in various sizes, voltages, and refrigerants to precisely meet your requirements. For any questions regarding using flake ice to preserve your products, ice flake machines, or any of our other ice products, please contact us.

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