What Does the Future Hold for Cold Chain Delivery Problems?

Delivery issues during the pandemic reach even the cold chain and food deliveries. Where do we go from here?

Brielle Jaekel Headshot
ACBusiness Media

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In writing these blog posts I find myself attempting to focus on something other than the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the task is almost impossible. It touches every aspect of our industry and continually causes tremendous upheaval. And, we’re seeing it in our everyday lives not just deep within the minutia of the industry.

I’m so aware of the risks and the hardships last-mile delivery and front-line workers deal with throughout this pandemic. But, COVID-19 exposes the gaps throughout the supply chain that need correcting.

This past week, a group of close friends and I decided to send a batch of chocolate-covered strawberries to a couple who were recently hit hard from the virus. A nice gesture turned into a weeklong fiasco, with zero berries in sight. Four phone calls were made, online tracking notifications went haywire and we received constant confusing updates that claimed the product was delivered that would then mysteriously disappear and no berries were ever found. We’re still unsure exactly what happened and if the berries will ever arrive.

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But we are not alone. I have heard countless stories of lost, late and even mishandled orders.

It’s obvious the pandemic has exacerbated the already-existing driver shortage. That, and the added issues of the surge of home ordering in the cold chain creates a recipe for disaster. But how can this be fixed?

In 2019, US Foods frightened everyone who has ever ordered food delivery with the realization that 30% of drivers admit to stealing a bite of food when delivering. (To be honest, when I think about my own eating habits, I can’t blame those drivers!)

During times of COVID-19 though, this is a much bigger issue. We’re now seeing an increase of tamper-proof takeout containers that help ensure your order is safely delivered, without any fries stolen. These tamper-proof containers hit the market so fast once the pandemic was prominent, I was so impressed with the industry’s ability to fix the issue.

Click here to hear more about how some companies are changing their businesses to navigate the pandemic:  

I believe we can fix these issues, just like the increased safety in food delivery. It goes without saying that customer service is not more important than human lives during this harsh time, but I think it’s time for the industry to come together and fill the gaps that need fixing and we can continue to move forward.  

I’m not sure if the drivers are eating the berries, if they’re just disappearing into the ether or if my friends will ever even receive their gift. But I do know that we as an industry can do better.