Supply Scan

News and Trends from accross the Food Supply Chain


» Dean Foods, Thermo King Unveil Green Delivery Truck

Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy processor and owner of one of the largest refrigerated direct-store delivery distribution networks in the industry, has unveiled a delivery vehicle equipped with a prototype truck refrigeration system developed by Thermo King.

The cost-efficient and environmentally-sustainable truck refrigeration system reduces the emissions associated with traditional diesel-powered transport refrigeration.

The diesel-free, hybrid electric-powered refrigeration technology will help El Paso, TX-based Dean Foods reduce its carbon footprint while creating operational efficiencies and cost savings. The technology also represents a step towards achieving Dean Foods’ commitment to remove 50,000 metric tons of carbon from its transportation system by 2013, the equivalent of removing 9,500 cars from the road.

“Our highest priority is reducing the cost and improving the efficiency of our operations,” says Harrald Kroeker, president of Dean Foods’ Fresh Dairy Direct business unit. “Innovations that eliminate the use of diesel fuel, which is a major expenditure and our second largest source of emissions, drive cost savings to our business that benefit the environment.”

The electric-powered refrigeration units replace traditional mechanical models that rely on a separate diesel-powered engine to facilitate cooling while en route, and require oil, filters and anti-freeze as part of their routine maintenance. The unit reduces emissions and waste by operating on electricity both while parked and while driving, eliminating the need for an independent engine in the refrigeration unit.

Additionally, the new unit emits significantly less noise than conventional mechanical refrigeration units, an important consideration for local communities.

The prototype truck refrigeration system has already been put into service in Dean Foods’ Dallas-area fleet. It has made daily deliveries from the company’s Oak Farms Dairy facility since March 2010. The company aims to achieve at least a 50 percent savings in diesel fuel usage as compared to traditional refrigerated vehicles by adopting the new technology over the longer-term.

Eliminating the diesel used in the refrigeration units of traditional vehicles would remove 21,000 pounds of carbon per vehicle per year. Because Dean Foods typically replaces about 200 delivery trucks each year, innovation such as this is an important step toward substantially decreasing fuel usage and related carbon emissions.

The adoption of new transport refrigeration technology is part of Dean Foods’ Smart Fleet initiative—an enterprise-wide effort to “green the fleet” by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants through delivery route optimization, investments in new technology and equipment and training for drivers.

Dean Foods has made investments to automate its distribution network, install on-board monitors to gauge idling and vehicle speed, and implement optimized route modeling software to build the most efficient delivery routes, reducing fuel usage and costs in the process.

» Sunny Delight Signs Agreement With iGPS

Sunny Delight Beverages Co. will begin shipping its products throughout the U.S. on iGPS’ all-plastic pallets with embedded RFID tags.

The Cincinnati-based beverage company produces and markets such brands as SunnyD.

“At Sunny Delight, we regard sustainability as a strategic imperative, and iGPS’ all-plastic pallets will further help us to meet our objective for continual sustainability improvements,” says Ellen Iobst, senior vice president of manufacturing and technology.

“The lighter weight of iGPS’ pallet reduces fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions,” she adds.

“Sunny Delight is a great success story and we’re excited to begin working together,” says Bob Moore, chairman and CEO of iGPS, Orlando, FL. “As two companies committed to environmental responsibility, I’m confident that this will be a great partnership.”

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