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 deliver products in a timely and cost-effective fashion. On the retail side, grocers are faced with new competitors, increasingly stressed margins and fickle customers that demand the freshest produce and meat – all at a low cost.

Sounds stressful, but Zest Labs can help you stay cool under the pressure.

The best way to solve a problem is to have the information you need to understand and manage it. One of the biggest issues in the fresh food supply chain is the lack of knowledge about a product’s condition at the pallet-level from harvest to the store shelf. The industry has relied on “harvest dates” to try to manage freshness but, because research has shown that each pallet’s shelf life is dynamic and therefore potentially different for every pallet in the same shipment, this method is fundamentally flawed. Relying on these harvest dates has – for decades – led to shrink and food waste. According to FMI, about 15 percent of produce is wasted. That’s profit going directly to the dumpster, every day.

Imagine if you could reduce that waste by 50 percent or more.

By using predictive analytics and IoT condition sensors from the time product is harvested, our solution, Zest Fresh, can dynamically calculate the remaining freshness of every pallet of produce. This helps to ensure that each pallet is delivered with enough remaining shelf-life for retail sell-through and consumer consumption. The result is less waste, increased product margins and happier customers.

If you’ll be at the United Fresh Conference (June 26-27 in Chicago), please come by our exhibit (booth 2221 in the FreshTec Zone) so we can show you how you can “Stay Cool” and thrive in this competitive environment. We’ll even give you one of these Zest Labs stress-relief Polar Bears to put on your desk to remind you just how cool life can be when you’re saving 6 percent by reducing waste every day.