In this post, we discuss refrigerated truck rental innovations that have advanced food science and technology.
Food transportation is no longer just about delivering the freshest food as safely and quickly as possible. There are more expectations that refrigerated vehicles need to meet to keep their customers happy and keep up with the competition. For example, there’s demand for longer shelf life for products, as well as the need for transparency and monitoring of every product from when it’s collected from producers to when it gets to consumers’ plates.
Mobile cold rooms and refrigerated vehicle hire has increased in popularity as the demand and expectations in the market have increased. With more people utilising these services, it not only enables businesses large and small to provide better service, but it also helps food science and technology progress.
To find out just how far mobile cold rooms and refrigerated vehicles providers have come, here is a deep dive into food storage, how important refrigerated trucks are to the food supply chain and three of the most significant developments in the mobile cold room industry:
Food Storage: A Closer Look
Before refrigeration technology became widely available, people used to go out every morning to buy the perishable foods they needed for the day. Not only is technology now more advanced, but life for many is more fast paced. Given the higher demand for food and the need for it to last longer on supermarket shelves, food storage and delivery needs to be functional at optimal levels.
To control food’s commercial shelf life, the natural occurrence of microbial growth in food needs to be limited or prevented. There are several ways this is done. The common ones include adding preservatives, reducing the amount of water food naturally contains and reducing the temperature of perishable food through refrigeration or freezing.
The Importance of Refrigerated Trucks to the Food Supply Chain
Of all the ways to preserve food, refrigeration is the most widely accepted. That’s because it doesn’t involve any process that has a detrimental effect on food quality, unlike adding preservatives.
Some of the most common food preservatives used now are chemicals. One example is sodium nitrate. It’s added to most processed meats, like jerky, bacon and ham. It’s presence can be detected by the reddish colour it gives meats. It can keep food from spoiling for a long time, but consuming it has serious health risks. For instance, it can make you more likely to have heart disease or develop diabetes.
Dehydration is one of the oldest ways to preserve food that’s still used today. It doesn’t have health risks that adding chemical preservatives to food does, but it does completely change the form of the food itself.
This is why refrigeration and refrigerated transport are seen as the optimal way to store and preserve food. Not only do they quickly transport food from A to B, but they keep fresh foods at their best quality for longer, without needing to interfere with the food itself.
Refrigerated Vehicles: Advancements in Food Science & Tech
Carbon Dioxide: Refrigerant Rediscovered
Refrigerants have earned themselves a bit of a bad reputation. Remember Freon? This colourless gas was commonly used as a refrigerant, until it was discovered it was harmful to the environment. To be specific, it had ozone-depleting properties.
The preferred refrigerant now is carbon dioxide (CO2). While this might sound bad, since CO2 is condemned as a greenhouse gas, as a refrigerant, it actually has an ozone-depletion potential of 0 and a global-warming potential of just 1.
CO2 has been used as a refrigerant for a surprisingly long time. It was patented as a refrigerant in 1850 in Great Britain. 19 years later, Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, chief of the US Army’s Aeronautic Corps during the Civil War, built a refrigeration system using CO2 that was used on a ship to transport meat from Texas to New York.
Fast forward to the present, transport refrigeration units with such systems are used to ship the freshest food around the world.
Sensors: The Key to Improving Mobile Cold Room Performance
While temperature control is crucial for mobile cold room providers, monitoring it can be complicated. Internal sensors now make this effective and efficient.
Refrigerated trucks and vehicles are now fitted with an extensive array of sensors that keeps track of the temperatures inside and outside the trailer as well as many other conditions, like humidity. Knowing these lets the electronic controls anticipate and respond accordingly to the cooling and air-circulation needs inside the trailer.
For instance, when the temperature outside is within the set point’s predetermined range, the unit will run in start/stop mode. When the temperature gets hot, the unit automatically switches to continuous run.
Since most of the functions are automated, the chances of the operator making any errors are much lower. The fewer mistakes he or she makes, the better the service they can deliver.
Getting to choose the perfect refrigerated truck rental for a job ensures you can always provide the best service.