Dutch active RFID provider Ambient Systems and Information Highway Group (IHG), a Spanish systems integrator, have announced a successful pilot run of their new Cool Chain Monitor system. The pilot was conducted with Bionest, Spain’s largest organic strawberry producer, and involved the use of RFID technology to monitor the temperature of strawberries as they traveled from Spain to a distribution center in Germany.
A recent study conducted by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality shows that up to 50% of food products are wasted in the food supply chain. Strawberries and other ‘soft fruits’ that are highly sensitive to temperature conditions experience the greatest amount of loss, hence the need for a real-time temperature monitoring system.
In its successful pilot run, the Cool Chain Monitor system used third generation active RFID tags with a shelf life algorithm that automatically checked the temperature and condition of the strawberry pallets every fifteen minutes and relayed the information back to Bionest.
Upon arrival at the German distribution center the temperature conditions and remaining shelf life of each pallet were communicated wirelessly through a GPRS connection. A Web-based application from IHG made transport conditions and food quality immediately available after arrival to both Bionest and the retailer, allowing end users to select the ripest fruit for immediate sale.
Based on the success of the pilot, Bionest plans to expand the scale of the system next strawberry season.