Ready-to-eat Food Factories

Table ready meals are vulnerable to microorganisms and hence from production to logistic, the control of temperatures and humidity becomes essential.

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It is suggested to deliver table ready meals on the regional scale, which takes the shortest delivery time and consequently the quality of meals can be kept. A common practice is that manufacturers organize their own logistics directly from the production site.  This saves an additional amount of time that otherwise would be spent on transportation and warehousing. As the result, meals are in a better condition when they reach to customers. Temperatures, whether on production site, in warehouse or in dispatch vehicles, need to be kept somewhat constant to avoid a deterioration in food quality.

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Table ready meals at 18 degrees is the most common type. Chilled and frozen food logistics. To deliver table ready meals, a short delivery time from production to destination is necessary. Table ready meals at 4 degrees have less market demand and higher seasonal fluctuations than those at 18 degrees.  To justify the cost, they are distributed with frozen foods.  Foods at 4 degrees nevertheless have a longer shelf time and a more stable quality compared to those at 18 degrees.  Lower storage temperatures could offset a longer travel distance.  One time delivery is less effective.  Foods subject to this practice are distributed with table ready meals at 18 degrees.

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Food plants and logistic trucks have a strict control of temperatures.  The major challenge, however, lays in dispatch vehicles. Despite low temperatures in the vehicle, time spent on unloading from the vehicle represents the biggest threat to food quality.  This is the challenge that needs to be addressed. Temperature fluctuations is the reason for deteriorated quality.  Besides well designed circulation fans in the vehicle, to spend the shortest amount of time on shelving is also important.  Factors that influence the ultimate food quality are delivery time and trainings for delivery and shop personnel.

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For aesthetic reasons, table ready meals and beverages are displayed in open cabinets, which can cause a deterioration in quality. Poorly designed cabinets often lead to raised food temperatures. Furthermore, an inefficient air conditioning can impede the performance of display cabinets. In hot summer days, there is lots of room for improvement.

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