A Fresh Perspective From Lineage
November 17, 2022
Every year, more than one third of all food produced spoils before it can be sold, with fruits and vegetables making up the most of this spoilage. To fight this problem and to set a new standard in the cold chain, Lineage has invested in solutions that optimize the transportation and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables while also helping to eliminate waste; we call this service Lineage Fresh. We sat down with Jim Henderson, VP of Business Development and one of the leaders behind Lineage Fresh, to tell us more about how Lineage is leveraging decades of cold storage experience to ensure fresh fruits and vegetables make it safely to our dinner tables.
Lineage Fresh: A Conversation with Jim Henderson
What is Lineage Fresh?
It's that expertise and focus on this type of product; produce, fruits and vegetables. Lineage Fresh is a combination of three things: Fresh facilities that are specifically designed to accommodate fresh produce, a team of experts that understand this business and value-added services that ensure our customers’ products stay fresh all the way to the consumers’ tables. That's what Lineage Fresh is.
Why was it important for Lineage to provide this service to its customers?
We created Lineage Fresh in response to feedback from our customers. After bringing Sun Valley Cold Storage and Kloosterboer Group into the Lineage family in 2021, which brought state-of-the-art assets and years of experience in the fresh sector, we hired an expert team and started having conversations with our customers about what servicing their needs means to them. It became very clear that this business is different, the expectations are different and if we wanted our customers to feel comfortable trusting their products with us, then we would need to create a service that’s entirely focused on handling, storing and transporting fresh produce.
What’s special about a Lineage Fresh facility?
Lineage’s Fresh warehouses are unique because they maintain multiple unique temperature zones within each facility. A lot of our facilities have huge rooms of 10,000 plus pallets being held at that same temperature but there’s a different philosophy with Fresh. For Fresh facilities, we need multiple zones for various products with different temperature requirements. In addition, the facilities must provide value-added services like repackaging, cool treatment, fumigation and other services that these commodities require. Lastly, in terms of infrastructure, it’s essential to have ethylene scrubbers to ensure products stay fresh. These are services that frozen facilities generally do not need, whereas they’re crucial for a Lineage Fresh facility.
In addition to infrastructure, it’s also imperative to have experts on the floor of these facilities who understand what it takes to manage those fresh commodities. Having the right infrastructure, value-added services and expert team ensures we can handle all our customers’ needs.
What are some of the key differentiators that make Lineage Fresh the best choice for its customers?
That's a great question. We're really excited about the differentiators that Lineage Fresh provides our customers. Aside from the infrastructure at our Fresh facilities, which allow us to hold a variety of products in multiple unique temperature zones, we also have the port proximity that allows us to get those products from port to warehouse as quickly as possible.
Our soon-to-open Savannah Fresh facility, for example, is less than five miles from the port. That port proximity is key, especially when handling fruits and vegetables. The size and scope of our network is also a huge advantage to our customers, allowing them to get more products into more markets than ever before.
At the end of the day, you could have all those things; the infrastructure, port proximity, all the temperature zones, but the most important thing is having the expertise and the focus to manage the product through that supply chain. Our Lineage Fresh team is second-to-none when it comes to managing these products.
What value-added services does Lineage Fresh provide to help keep fruits and vegetables fresh?
Fumigation is a required service for produce traveling between countries. It helps prevent the spread of pests that could cause irreparable harm to native crops and ecosystems. We’re able to perform this value-added service via a partnership with Ecolab, who has been performing this service for decades all over the US and beyond.
To protect the fresh produce, fruits and vegetables we’re handling during this process, we've got to get the products up to the right temperature, perform the fumigation overnight, then get it back down to storage temperature and finally store it, all within 24 hours.
Pre-cooling is getting the product down to its required temperature. Sometimes, products are brought in at a different temperature than what’s required in the facility. Other places may put that product into a room and let it get to the proper temperature, eventually. Pre-cooling is a service Lineage provides where we apply cooler temperatures to that product to get it down to the required temperature faster. This service allows us to increase the shelf life of these products.
Re-pack & Bagging
When products come into our facilities in bulk boxes, we are able to repackage the products and get them ready for retail. This allows for more flexibility for our customers while also allowing us to get those products out onto shelves quicker.
Customs Bonded Facilities/CBP
With Customs Border Patrol, there are specific requirements that these products need to meet before being allowed into the country. To get cleared, there are two options. First, you can do it at the port, which takes time and can come at an extra cost. The second is to gain clearance in a bonded, CBP approved facility.
Lineage Fresh Savannah is CBP approved, meaning we can pick up that product immediately from the port, bring it to our facility and have it approved in the facility. This saves our customers time and money and allows us to get those products on the shelves as fast as possible.
Restacking, Reconditioning and Restyling
Restacking is a service we provide which allows us to prevent damage to our customers’ products. Oftentimes, when products come into the port and into our facility, they will shift on their pallets. Restacking allows us to ensure the products aren’t being damaged before they reach the shelves.
Restyling and reconditioning are services where we’re able to alter products based on our customers’ instructions to ensure these products meet their requirements before reaching consumers. This ensures the highest-quality produce reaches the consumers as fast as possible.
What’s next for Lineage Fresh?
The future of Lineage Fresh is global. Right now, we’re focused on making sure we have the end-market prepared here in the US and Europe. In addition to our expansion in Swedesboro, NJ coming online in January 2023, along with Lineage Fresh Savannah, we are speaking to customers about additional locations in the Gulf West Coast in the US. Then, if you take a look at our facility footprint, you can see we’re putting the pieces together to provide global Fresh solutions for our customers to be able to manage their products, reduce delays, extend shelf life, keep products fresher throughout the supply chain and get them to market faster.
The Future is Fresh
Lineage Fresh is a service that’s revolutionizing the way we store and transport fresh produce around the world. Our Fresh facilities have the infrastructure, value-added services, expertise and focus needed to keep products fresh while also reducing time spent in the warehouse and extending the product’s shelf life. At the end of the day, you’ll see the fruits of our labor in the produce aisles at your local grocery stores.