Freezer Controllers In the Food and Beverage Industry

The methods and devices used to preserve food and beverages has come a long way. Imagine the food and beverages we could save during the various stages of the supply chain if we applied state of the art temperature programming. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most crucial and versatile modern temperature control tools, smart freezer controllers.

freezer section at grocery store

Food Waste

Food loss and waste is a global issue, with loss/waste occurring at all the stages in the supply chain from farm to table.  

  1. Farming
  2. Post-harvest and Packing
  3. Process and Distribution
  4. Retail and grocery store
  5. Food service and restaurants
  6. Households

According to a Wall Street Journal article written in 2012, the United States alone tends to waste $165 billion in food each year. While there are many factors along the way that contribute to this giant loss, temperature control plays an important role.

The Role of Temperature

In many instances, temperature is the culprit in food loss. When food traveling from the farm to the market is in a truck with unregulated temperatures, food can arrive at the grocery store spoiled and be immediately discarded. For example, open freezer doors can raise temperatures enough to render the food unfit for consumers. If equipment on a freezer/fridge fails all of the contents can be lost before anyone notices.

A smart freezer controller can warn you before spoilage occurs when used in post-harvesting and packing, process and distribution, retail and grocery stores, and food service and restaurants–that is four steps in the supply chain. Even relatively small differences in temperature can mean loss: up to almost 20% globally. “In developed countries, food losses from the absence of refrigeration account for nearly 9% of total food production, and 23% on average in developing countries” (Shaw).

The Cold Chain

Powerblanket infographic on the stages of the cold supply chain

A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chainAn unbroken cold chain in the food industry is an uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities and associated equipment which maintain a given low-temperature range. A functioning cold chain is critical to the protection and delivery of fresh and frozen perishable foods. “In parts of the world where the cold chain is established and run effectively, perishable food loss can be maintained as low as 2%. When applied properly and consistently, a fully functioning cold chain can successfully prevent and reduce food loss” (Shaw).

However, breaks in the cold chain occur due to a variety of issues. These include operator error, insufficient pre-cooling, poor loading practices, inadequate insulation, malfunctioning equipment, or even something as simple as cargo or walk-in freezer doors being left open too long. Any of these breaks can cause damage to perishable foods with exposure to conditions that are too warm or cold, all leading to food loss/waste.

Kegerator Temperature Control

Smart chilling controllers are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of chilling applications. Let’s take a look at one of these niche applications: kegerators. Kegerators are specialized chest freezers used to store and dispense beer from kegs. They can range from DIY models, to ready-made keg chilling kits, and custom keg chilling units.

Because beer keg temperatures have a tremendous impact on the quality of your brew, temperature control is crucial. Smart temperature controllers can give you peace of mind and keep your kegerators chilling at the exact temperature you want. For keg chilling on the go, check out Powerblanket’s partner North Slope Chillers. Our keg coolers can keep keg cold during even the hottest of summer conditions.

Powerblanket Smart Control Solutions

Beacon Smart Controller:

Powerblanket has teamed with Beacon Controls to develop a connected temperature controller. This new, smart controller allows you to monitor and control your device from your smartphone or computer. More importantly, it allows you to receive notifications when the temperature goes outside limits that you specify. Imagine the food you could save with a warning when something goes wrong and time to act before food starts to spoil. Commercial refrigerators and freezers used in grocery stores and restaurants use controllers. Replace your freezer/fridge controller with Beacon smart freezer controller and receive a notification when the temperature of your equipment falls out of the assigned threshold.  

smart freezer controller

 

  • Compatibility with a wide variety of heating or cooling devices
  • Change settings remotely to keep your operation running smoothly wherever you are
  • Customizable alerts based on temperature, electrical current,  and voltage give you complete peace of mind.
  • 120/208/240V AC options, directly switch up to 24 amp loads

Sources

Gunders, Dana. “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Land ll”. NRDC Issue Paper. August 2012. 1 March 2017. www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf

Plumer, Brad. “How the U.S. manages to waste $165 billion in food each year”. The Washington Post.  22 August 2012. www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/08/22/how-food-actually-gets-wasted-in-the-united-states/?utm_term=.5476832ffe73

Shaw, John and Mark Beasley. “IMPROVED COLD CHAIN MANAGEMENT IS KEY TO REDUCING FOOD LOSS”. Food Logistics. October 2016. www.sensitech.com/assets/articles/flog10161415coolinsightsrgbz.pdf

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