‘Smart’ chains

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has developed a monitoring concept to predict the quality of vegetables, fruit and ornamentals to provide clients with the required quality.

Research has shown that approximately thirty percent of all produced food is lost in the chain. In addition to product losses, this results in major claims and image damage for the companies within the chain. Better and more detailed information about product quality can reduce losses, extend shelf life and facilitate quality guarantees. Knowledge of the product quality within the chain enables a logistic concept such as ‘First Expired First Out’ (FEFO). FEFO prevents products from perishing prematurely and allows for differentiation in product quality to the benefit of markets with specific requirements with regards to that quality. As a result, clients receive products with a uniform and stable quality and throw fewer products away.

Quality and sensors

It can be difficult for companies to find out the exact quality of perishable products in the chain. While current technology enables conditions to be measured with sensors, this does not provide an evaluation of product quality. Temperature and relative humidity have the greatest impact on the quality of perishables in the chain. These factors form the basis for quality predictions. Continuous monitoring in the chain with sensors enables the quantification of the effect of temperature and relative humidity. Using quality decay models, the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research concept translates these conditions into a predicted product quality. This knowledge in turn allows companies in the chain to considerably reduce claims and product losses.

Chain conditions and quality

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research focuses on two aspects in its work:

1.    Quantifying the loss of quality in the various environmental conditions for the different perishable products such as vegetables, fruit and ornamental horticulture products. Our state-of-the-art facilities can meticulously monitor the effects of temperature, humidity, oxygen, carbon dioxide, ethylene, etc. on quality.

2.    Linking already available data about product quality with sensor data. Our analysis techniques and knowledge of information technology enable us to achieve major advances in product quality based on existing data and systems.

With the knowledge developed at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research we can lift your quality management to a higher level and maximise performance with regard to product quality.