Supply Chain 101: How to Minimize Loss of Perishable Inventory

Perishable inventory can be a major pain for any business—from the small mom-and-pop shop to the large distributor. Whether it’s through unplanned spoilage or simply not being able to sell the product before it expires, wastage of any amount of warehouse stock can be costly for your bottom line.

There are certain strategies you can implement along your supply chain to minimize the loss of perishables and keep your profits up. Here are some tips and tricks to protect fresh produce, raw meats, and alcoholic beverages from spoilage and damage—as well as how a 3PL partner can help you do just that.

  • Proper Storage: The Key to Fresh Produce

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, proper storage is key to minimizing loss. These perishables need to be stored at the right temperature and humidity levels to stay fresh—which can be a challenge if you don’t have the right warehouse equipment.

For example, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach should be stored at 32 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level between 90 and 95 percent. If the temperature is too high, the leaves will wilt; if it’s too low, they’ll freeze.

The best way to ensure your produce is being stored properly is to partner with a third-party logistics provider. These experts have the knowledge and resources to store your fresh fruits and vegetables at the optimal temperature and humidity levels—minimizing loss and maximizing profits.

  • Dry-Aging: A Butcher’s Best Friend

If you’re in the business of selling meat, dry-aging is your best friend when it comes to minimizing loss. Dry-aging is a technique where meat is aged in a controlled environment—usually between 33 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels around 60 to 80 percent.

This process allows the meat to tenderize and develop a more intense flavor, which in turn makes it more valuable. Because of this, you can sell your protein at a higher price point—covering any potential losses from spoilage. 

Another way to minimize meat wastage is to skip the stores and consider shipping it straight to your customers. That way, it never sits and steak lovers can enjoy dry-aged American Wagyu beef at their doorstep—or whatever kind of delicious meat you sell.

  • Alcohol: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

While some types of alcohol get better with age, they can still spoil and ruin your ROI. There are specific ways to minimize the spoilage of these beverages and prevent damage to their containers. First, always store your bottles upright to prevent their corks from drying out and contents from spilling.

Second, keep your wines in a cool, dark place—ideally between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much light or heat will cause their flavors to change, making them less valuable. To sell them quickly so they never have a chance to spoil, consider supplying them to a reputable bar that holds private tastings

Finally, If you have any wine or liquor that’s still nearing its end after implementing these strategies, consider selling it at a discount. This way, you can still make some money off the product before it goes bad. 

  • A Partner in Profit: How a 3PL Provider Can Help

What better way to minimize loss than to outsource your warehouse operations to professionals? A superior third-party logistics provider will have a wealth of experience in managing perishable inventory and can offer you customized solutions to fit your specific needs.

These experts have the resources and knowledge to ensure your perishable inventory is properly stored and protected. No matter what type of business you’re in, a good third-party logistics provider can help you lose less product and make more money.

The Bottom Line

Most business owners are well aware of the importance of supply chain management— After all, it is the backbone of any company. However, many companies that sell perishable products aren’t aware of strategies they could implement to minimize loss, instead accepting its blow on their bottom line.

If you’ve had it with throwing out wasted products (and profits in the process), try implementing these secrets in your supply chain or partner with a 3PL who can procure the perfect setup for your products.

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