The home delivered meal industry seems to be growing fast, with new competitors fighting to conquer this blossoming field. One of the key aspects of this new industry involves insulated shipments of temperature sensitive food products. While different from CoolPack’s focus, since many of the challenges are quite relevant, it behooves the BioPharma industry to keep a close eyes on the developments, innovation and infrastructure which emerge. CoolPack has even noticed the poaching by the food industry, of veterans in BioPharma Cold Chain, such as Brian Wallin, formerly of Amgen, to Fresh Realm.
Meal kits include fresh produce, uncooked meat or poultry or fish, plus other items used to prepare the meal. The concept is to appeal to people seeking fresh foods that are perceived as more healthful than pre-prepared frozen or thermally processed meals. It also saves time by not having to look for a recipe and shop for the food.
Use of smart or intelligent packaging devices may be a particularly good fit for this market segment. Time/temperature indicators (TTI) already exist and are widely used for cold chain distribution of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and on shipping cases for military food rations. TTIs are not very intuitive for average consumer use, so one that makes it easier for consumers to make a decision regarding freshness would fit better for home meal deliveries. Currently foods shipped via small parcel using Hello Fresh™ or Blue Apron use ice packs to keep fresh produce or fresh meats cold, but what if temperature abuse occurs during distribution? Can consumers still tell if the food is still safe? It is important for foods with mild temperature abuse to be cooked to specific internal temperatures. What if a consumer prefers rare cooked meat? What risks might this carry? Many spoilage sensors have been designed but none that work reliably for very specific foods. In this day of trying to keep food waste to a minimum, a more reliable TTI tied to freshness is needed.
Source: Packaging World