Hanwell Solutions has warned food manufacturers and retailers that contingency planning in advance of Brexit could be counter-productive and lead to significant food waste.
Fears of disruption to the food supply chain through and after the Brexit process has led to a rush for warehouse space from companies keen to boost stocks of materials and goods. But with demand for suitable cold storage facilities at a peak, keeping temperature-sensitive products in the right conditions is challenging.
Real-time monitoring of the environment in which food is kept could save the day in the event of incidents such as power cuts, fridge failures or doors left open. The uncertain British climate, which saw temperatures of up to 19°C in February before dipping to below freezing overnight, can also have an adverse effect on stored food products – even canned goods.
Centralised environmental monitoring and early warning systems from British manufacturer Hanwell will flag up compromised conditions for food, as well as pharmaceutical and healthcare products, especially essential in warehouses not normally used for this purpose.
Whilst tinned food is expected to last for years, most cans do carry storage guidelines such as ‘a cool dry place’. Accurate monitoring of environmental conditions for these goods, even in ambient storage and during transportation, provides an early-warning system that can help protect consumers and avoid spoilage.
Hanwell’s UK commercial manager, Marcus Stacey-Bradbury, pointed to the great British weather as another reason for businesses to ensure correct storage conditions, and compliance with regulations set by authorities like the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Marcus said: “We’re now in a cycle where our weather system is heating up and cooling down and this will have an effect on goods stored even in an ambient temperature warehouse. Going from, say, 19°C down to -1 or -2°C in a day means that you are cycling through temperatures that can contribute to the degrading of products, even tinned foods, without a doubt.
“Then there are cheese manufacturers. They store their product in a cool environment like a fridge or freezer environment. Temperatures in cool ambient areas need monitoring to make sure you are not getting large spikes of temperature in a short space of time. Not only do we monitor temperature, we also monitor humidity because that also has an effect on certain dairy products.
“Can brands or retailers stockpiling goods in emergency warehousing be absolutely sure that the optimum conditions for the products are being maintained 24/7?”
Hanwell is renowned in particular for its leadership in monitoring systems, designing and manufacturing British-engineered solutions vital to helping organisations meet the needs of strict food industry regulations across the globe.
As well as its pioneering EMS software platform, Hanwell introduced a ground-breaking smart app for critical environment alerts at the touch of a button, from anywhere in the world – providing a clear and simple visual for multiple users on the go.