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Sustainable food cold chain logistics: From microenvironmental monitoring to global impact

By IARRP | Updated: 2022-09-08

Recently, the Innovation Team of Smart Agriculture, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IARRP, CAAS), optimized the concept of sustainable Food Cold Chain Logistics (FCCL) according to UN sustainable development goals, reviewed the active research areas and gaps of FCCL; challenges and future trends for the sustainable development of FCCL under the low-carbon background. The relevant research results were published in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (IF=15.786) with the title "Sustainable food cold chain logistics: From microenvironmental monitoring to global impact".

According to researcher Qian Jianping, FCCL is a systematic engineering process involving the use of a low-temperature environment to maintain the quality and safety of perishable food and reduce food loss and waste (FLW). From a mechanism perspective, FCCL must balance resource costs for a required level of food quality and safety with the costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the context of global warming, the sustainability trade-off between FLW and environmental impact has recently become an important topic in research on efficient, green FCCL. This is mainly reflected in technological innovation, management optimization, and policy responses.

With a focus on three levels (micro, meso, macro), this study analyzes current research areas and the gaps and challenges of FCCL in microenvironmental monitoring, life cycle assessment (LCA), and global impact. Future trends pertaining to FCCL in technology, management, and industry and sustainable development are also summarized.

Future trends involving sustainable FCCL must be intelligent, systematic, and low carbon. Industry empowerment through next-generation information technologies (e.g., IoT, AI, big data, blockchain) will promote the multidimensional perception, real-time information transmission, and sustainable control of microenvironmental monitoring, as well as support LCA management transformation from fragmentation to system integration. From a macro level, due to the serious global loss of perishable food, the FCCL scale demand is growing greatly, causing a huge environmental burden. Global cooperation, low-carbon consensus, and appropriate policies will become the basis for promoting sustainable FCCL development.

This work was jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31971808) and the Central Public-interest Scientific Institution Basal Research Fund (CAAS-ZDRW202107).

Paper link: https://doi.org/10.111/1541-4337.13014