Fresh-cut produce, peeled, sliced and bagged, is increasingly popular with consumers, and in Dallas TX two local companies have teamed up to make sure the convenience is matched with shelf-life. FreshLoc Technologies has announced a complete end-to-end installation of its wireless monitoring system at Taylor Farms Texas, a major supplier of fresh-cut produce to the foodservice and retail grocery industries.
“As the trend toward healthier diets grows, and the time available to prepare food shrinks, fresh-cut is the growth area of the produce market,” said James Hyatt, president of Taylor Farms Texas. Americans bought $1.6 billion worth of packaged salads in 1999, and according to the Produce Marketing Association, by 2003 that figure is expected to grow to $4.7 billion.
While they're handy, “Cut vegetables and fruit are still living and are more subject to spoilage,” Hyatt said. “The best control for spoilage is temperature. Having a system like FreshLoc, that covers not only the plant, but trucks as well, and brings it all to my desktop — that gives us maximum protection.”
The Taylor Farms Texas facility is more than 40,000 square feet, with temperature control for eight different operations under one roof. A network of wireless sensors covers the facility, from compressors to slurries.
The Taylor Farms fleet of refrigerated trucks is monitored using the new Fresh-sync Automatic Logger system. Sensors mounted on the truck continuously monitor and record temperature in the truck box. Data is then automatically downloaded via the Internet to the yard manager's desktop.
“Even when we use the trucks for temporary storage in the yard, we have a perfect record of time and temperature for customers and inspectors and alerts if there are ever problems,” said Ralph Ynostrosa, Taylor Farms Texas plant manager.
Because the FreshLoc system is wireless, it can easily be expanded when Taylor Farms moves to its new facility next year. Regardless of mushrooming demand for fresh-cut lettuce, cabbage, and onions, Taylor Farms, protected with FreshLoc technology, will deliver the goods.