The European flower industry is increasingly realising the full impact of effective cold chain management – and the risks of deficiencies in this key area. Better cold chain management, to them, means higher quality, less risk, less waste and more profit. Demand for cold chain protocols and service level agreements is growing. Particular supermarkt chains, whose role will continue to grow, are doing tests and developing new and higher standards themselves. They are changing the very nature of flower trading by introducing closed supply chains involving just the growers and themselves.
With sector-wide studies having proven the dramatic effects of cold chain management on flower quality and vase life, buyers in the time ahead will have no choice but to reach for higher levels of excellence in this area – and they will expect other players in the chain to chip in. At the same time, they face the challenge of deciding where to begin, as cold chain management involves so many different actors, beginning right back at the grower’s farm.
The need for improved cold chain management represents a challenge and an opportunity for flower growers. While some cold chain improvements may be complex and costly, there are also many quick wins to be made.
As a grower, developing and implementing cold chain protocols together with your forwarder and buyers will be vital to survival in the coming years. Temperature checks, vase life tests and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with logistical service providers are a necessary part of advancing to a higher level of cold chain professionalism. Don’t leave the initiative in this area to your buyers, but take the lead yourself.
Source: CBI, ProVerde