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Uh Oh, It’s the Fuzz!

Uh Oh, It’s the Fuzz!

No, I’m not talking about something a character from a 1970s TV show might have said. I’m talking about that feeling when you open your refrigerator in the morning to grab berries for breakfast and are greeted by raspberries that are growing beards and turning to mush. How frustrating. No fruit for breakfast, and a $5 clamshell of raspberries is now going in the trash. I’ll bet you’ve had this experience at least once. But have you wondered why it happens? The simple answer is that, because product wasn’t handled properly, it ran...Continue Reading...
5 Ways to Ensure Meals Stay Fresh and Safe in Transit

5 Ways to Ensure Meals Stay Fresh and Safe in Transit

With so many meal delivery services available today, one of the commonly asked questions from customers is, “How do my meals stay fresh and safe in transit?” Many customers are concerned about the condition their pre-made dishes or raw ingredients will be in when they’ve arrived at their home. And they have a good reason to be worried about that. Spoiled food can not only ruin the meal kit experience, it can turn off customers entirely from a meal delivery service. So how can you ensure the meals you’re delivering stay fresh and...Continue Reading...
Stay Cool! (And Visit Us at United Fresh!)

Stay Cool! (And Visit Us at United Fresh!)

It’s June, and not only is the weather heating up, so is produce season! Fresh fruits and produce abound and retailers’ shelves overflow with nature’s bounty. Yet, on any given day it may be very hard for growers, processors, shippers and grocers to “Stay Cool.” For growers and processors, every day brings fresh challenges related to labor, weather, equipment and the progress of the crops themselves – they often have too much to harvest or not enough. Shippers and logistics providers struggle to find drivers with enough hours to...Continue Reading...
Stop Doing That!

Stop Doing That!

Have you ever noticed how people sometimes keep doing things over and over even though the results keep turning out badly? For me, a good example would be home repairs. Whether trying to replace a faucet, change a light switch or install a security camera, you can count on me to break something, use the wrong part, lose one of the screws, etc. Yet, for years I continued to give it my best shot. This only served to frustrate me, irritate my wife and teach my kids the proper use of profanity. After years of poor outcomes, I finally...Continue Reading...
What’s in the Bag?

What’s in the Bag?

When it comes to the freshness of bagged salads, vegetables or meal kits, you need to ask, “What’s in the bag?” Many bagged salads or meal packages will have a “Use By” date but these dates are only guidelines and aren’t reliable or accurate. Why? Not all product harvested on the same day – even from the same field – will have the same freshness or remaining shelf-life. Variations in harvest conditions and processing can cause significant differences in shelf-life meaning the “Use By” date is only an estimate and can vary from the...Continue Reading...
Let’s Start at the Beginning

Let’s Start at the Beginning

Have you had the experience where a friend (or child) comes to you in a panic with a problem and asks for your help and immediately jumps to the end of the story? Our typical response is “Wait, let’s start at the beginning” because we require the details of what happened to understand what is causing the problem before we can help them solve it. The problem of shrink or waste in the fresh food supply chain is similar. You need to start at the beginning of the supply chain to understand when and where the cause of shrink – when food...Continue Reading...
Timing is Everything – The Impact of Cut-to-Cool Time on Freshness

Timing is Everything – The Impact of Cut-to-Cool Time on Freshness

Have you ever shown up at a busy restaurant just as a table becomes available? Or perhaps you raced to a store to get an item that’s in high demand and discovered that you are the lucky individual to get the last one on the shelf? When these things happen, I say to my wife “Timing is everything!” Timing is everything when it comes to food freshness too. All produce has a definable shelf-life, or “freshness capacity,” which varies based on harvest quality and conditions, and product temperature. The timing becomes critical from the...Continue Reading...
Let’s Celebrate National Salad Month!

Let’s Celebrate National Salad Month!

May is National Salad Month. Sure, it’s not as exciting as the opening of baseball season, but it’s still worth celebrating, whether you prefer Cobb Salad, Caesar Salad or just some simple mixed greens. On average, Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce per year – but it’s not always easy to get the recommended amount of leafy greens. As such, bagged salads have become increasingly popular due to the convenience and available varieties. They’re a great option, but unlike uncut lettuce, bagged lettuce doesn’t last as long in your...Continue Reading...
Growers, Packers and Shippers – What Really Happens in the Fresh Food Supply Chain

Growers, Packers and Shippers – What Really Happens in the Fresh Food Supply Chain

How many of us really understand what it takes to provide the fresh fruits and vegetables that we buy at our local grocery store? Last week I was at the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT) in Salinas, California and had the chance to meet with Dennis Donohue, the WGCIT’s Consulting Director. While I’m perhaps more in-tune with the produce industry than your average American, speaking with Dennis demonstrated to me just how much most of us can learn about how our produce is grown, harvested, packed and...Continue Reading...
Margins Matter – Don’t Get Squeezed

Margins Matter – Don’t Get Squeezed

When my kids were young, each night at bedtime I’d read them two or three books. One of their favorites was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Maybe you’ve read it to your children or grandchildren. It details how poor Alexander’s day starts off bad (gum in his hair when he wakes up) and just gets worse. I’ll bet each of us has had at least one of those days. I wonder if that’s how grocery retailers feel these days. It seems almost daily we see stories in the news or trade press about a new challenge...Continue Reading...