Minimizing Food Product Damage When Dealing With Higher Altitudes

The movement of food and drinks through the supply chain is a complicated process in the best of times, but when these goods need to travel through high altitudes, the situation becomes even more complex.

While the risks to food safety posed by altitude changes aren’t as immediately obvious as those that can arise from incorrect temperatures, they cannot be ignored altogether. Many of the problems that can arise in high altitudes are related to the packaging integrity, which can be compromised by an imbalance between internal and external pressure.

Any rupturing of food packaging is going to result in damage or spoilage at some point. While many consumers complain about opening up a bag of chips, for example, and finding it to contain a lot of air, its purpose is a lot less sinister than trying to make the bag look fuller. That air exists to pad the product and protect it from damage during handling, and it also serves to prevent spoilage and oxidation so the food stays fresher.

However, when this bag of chips heads into an area of high altitude, the outward pressure of the gas inside of it rises, making it more likely to pop open. This risk is even higher when food is manufactured in lower altitudes and then shipped to the Great Plains or the West Coast, for example.

Packaging Adjustments, Smart Vehicle Choices Can Help

While changing the route is not always possible, small adjustments can be made to the packaging depending on its ultimate destination. For example, using less of this gas so the packaging remains a little deflated or packing it in a larger carton can give some room for expansion, thus minimizing the chances of a package bursting and becoming unsellable.

Temperature-controlled vehicles can also help keep this problem at bay thanks to their use of tightly sealed doors and air flow systems. Semi-pressurized vehicles might cost a little more, but they can be worth it because they are less susceptible to the problems caused by altitude changes. After all, no business can afford to neglect product safety.