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Meaty Proposition: Keeping Products Safe & Fresh When Shipping Meats

November 27, 2023

April 29, 2024

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x min read

Shippers and freight forwarders transporting meat: you’re the MVPs for meat lovers everywhere. Your role is critical and complex as the behind-the-scenes hero that ensures everything—from a Thanksgiving turkey to a Christmas ham to a giant brisket at a Fourth of July barbecue—arrives at its final destination in impeccable condition. Yet, as you can likely attest, your job is riddled with challenges: maintaining precise temperatures, adhering to strict regulations, and ensuring every delivery succeeds.

This article will help you confront the challenges associated with the fast-approaching holiday season. We'll explore the nuances of the meat industry, its logistics, and how modern solutions from Tive are not just about tracking—but about bringing clarity and control to your operations.

Serving a Meaty Market

Every steak, chicken wing, and pork chop tells a story of change, challenge, and opportunity. In this world, numbers aren't just figures on a spreadsheet—they're the ingredients of a constantly-evolving U.S. and global market.  

The U.S. Meat Market: Trends & Trajectories

American families increasingly consume beef and chicken, driving the market to anticipate a meaty $125.60 billion in revenue in 2023—and a 4.58% CAGR through 2028. Steering this ship are four major conglomerates, spicing up the market with strategic pricing and grilling up record profits. A feast of figures awaits on the production front: beef and cattle production could reach 25.275 billion pounds by 2024. Yet, meat prices could fall in 2024—influenced by recent economic trends and slimmer packer margins. Not to be overlooked is the processed meat sector, which is sizzling towards $41 billion in revenues in 2023—or about $373 per U.S. citizen alone. By 2028, this segment could produce a staggering 8.25 billion pounds of processed delights like sausage and bacon.  

Global Meat Market: A World of Flavors

Globally, the meat story is just as intriguing. Over the two decades leading up to 2018, global meat consumption swelled by 58%, reaching 360 million tons. 54% of this growth came from population growth, and the rest from rising per capita consumption. Fast forward to 2023 and the global market for meat, poultry, and seafood keeps growing, expanding from $1.5 trillion in 2022 to $1.6 trillion in 2023—a hearty growth rate of 7.5%. The global meat market could continue its robust expansion at a 6.35% CAGR through 2028, translating to about $179.40 in revenue per person. Plus, even though global meat exports dipped by 3% last year to 40 million tons, it was due to production hiccups and increased domestic demand in leading exporting nations, such as Brazil, Canada, the European Union, the United States, and New Zealand.  

Challenges in Meat Shipping

Transporting meat isn't just moving boxes from point A to point B. It's a delicate balance between temperature control, time, and regulations.

  • Maintaining appropriate temperature control: To remain fresh and safe, meat requires consistent cool temperatures. Keeping these products at 40°F (4°C) or below, or frozen solid at 0°F (-18°C)—during its transit from the packing plant to a refrigerated warehouse or store—ensures harmful microorganisms that cause food-borne illnesses can't grow.
  • Ensuring quality and freshness: Ever wonder why the steak at your favorite restaurant tastes so good? It's all about freshness. Keeping meat fresh as it travels from the farm to your plate is challenging, involving sturdy packaging and state-of-the-art refrigeration.
  • Navigating regulatory requirements: Shipping meat is like playing a global game of Twister, with each country having its own set of health and safety rules. Navigating this maze requires expertise and agility—to ensure that every piece of meat complies with local laws.
  • Managing costs: Keeping meat cool and fresh is expensive. Cold chain logistics is also costly, blending the art of logistics with the science of budget management.

Best Practices for Shipping Meat

Shipping meat requires precision, foresight, and the right tools. Whether you're a small business owner or a large-scale supplier, these best practices can help ensure your meat products reach their destination fresh and safe. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  • Select the right packaging: Packaging is your first line of defense. Opt for materials that offer strong insulation and protect against temperature fluctuations. Styrofoam boxes and insulated liners are excellent choices for maintaining desired temperatures.
  • Choose proper cold storage materials: To keep meat refrigerated or frozen during transit, use ice packs or gel coolants for chilled items. Dry ice is an effective option for frozen meat, but proceed cautiously; it's classified as a hazardous shipping material.
  • Pick the right carrier: Not all carriers are equal regarding perishables. Select a shipping partner known for handling perishable items—and who can guarantee the quickest delivery to maintain meat's freshness.
  • Streamline fulfillment: Timing is everything: organize your fulfillment process to align with shipping windows, and ensure you have accurate lead times and know cut-off dates to avoid delays.
  • Ensure error-free delivery: Leverage tools that automate the delivery process, accurately verify addresses, and provide customers with specific delivery time slots—to minimize delivery errors, and add predictability and reliability to your shipping process.

The Role of Tive’s Visibility Solutions

Transporting meat is a game of precision in which every degree and minute matters. Tive's visibility solutions provide the clarity and precision needed to ensure that meat arrives fresh and safe.

Mastering Cold Chain Management

Picture this: you’re shipping a batch of premium steaks across the country. Tive Tag temperature loggers act like vigilant chefs—constantly monitoring the temperature of your precious products, and ensuring that the meat remains at optimal coolness, akin to a perfectly set refrigerator. Real-time Solo 5G trackers take this even further—acting as an immediate alert system. If temperatures start to climb, threatening freshness, shippers get notified in real-time—enabling them to act swiftly. This service is invaluable in the meat industry, where even a slight temperature change can mean the difference between a prime cut and a spoiled product.

Streamlining Operations with Smart Tech    

Tive's Solo 5G trackers offer a robust, real-time solution for businesses seeking to optimize logistics and shipment tracking processes. These advanced trackers provide real-time visibility into the location and condition of shipments, ensuring that businesses can monitor their goods every step of the way. With Solo 5G trackers, users receive instant alerts and updates, allowing prompt responses to any issues during transit. The trackers' ability to provide detailed information on temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors ensures that products arrive in the best possible condition, maintaining quality and customer satisfaction. For time- and temperature-sensitive shipments like meat, this completely changes the equation.

Tive’s flexible shipment visibility solutions also make the process of monitoring meat shipments remarkably user-friendly. Tive Tags, for example, are as easy to apply as a sticker and are activated by scanning them with a smartphone. This simplicity is a game changer, especially for businesses that might not have extensive resources for complex logistics operations. Beyond the convenience, the data gathered by the Tags is a goldmine and serves as an audit trail for compliance with food safety regulations and as a powerful ally in insurance matters. In essence, Tive Tags continuously monitor and record the temperature of shipments—and help safeguard the shipper’s reputation and accountability.

Embrace the Future of Shipping Meat with Tive

For food logistics professionals, understanding supply chain challenges and adhering to best practices for shipping meat is just the beginning. True success hinges on embracing modern, effective solutions that ensure product integrity every step of the way.

It’s here where Tive shines as a cost-effective, user-friendly, environmentally-friendly approach to maintaining cold chain custody. These innovative trackers and temperature loggers are not just tools; they are your partners in ensuring that every shipment of meat maintains its quality—from origin to destination. By providing real-time data and essential compliance documentation, Tive Solo 5G trackers and Tags make the once-impossible process of monitoring temperature-sensitive shipments as routine as grilling a burger.

Are you ready to transform the way you transport meat? Contact Tive now and step into a world where shipping efficiency, product safety, and compliance are not just goals—they’re everyday realities.  

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