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.”

In just three years of operation, iGPS says it has revolutionized the way goods are being shipped throughout the North American supply chain.

Its 100 percent recyclable pallets are 30 percent lighter than pallets made of wood and are vastly better for the environment.

» IWLA Asks FDA To Maintain 3PL Responsibility Over Recalled Food Products

Joel D. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the International Warehouse Logistics Association, Des Plaines, IL, asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to clarify a recently issued draft regulatory guidance regarding the reporting of adulterated food product by third-party logistics providers.

The FDA guidance document implements the requirements of the Reportable Food Registry and the reporting of adulterated food products. IWLA’s letter specifically responds to FDA’s request for recommendations for determining when a food product has been transferred in the supply chain.

“Whether or not an article of food has been transferred from customer to the 3PL warehouse is a significant issue for the 3PL industry,” Anderson said in a July 26 letter to FDA. He urged the agency to make clear in its written guidance that a transfer of product occurs upon transfer of ownership, not upon transfer of possession.

“A 3PL never takes title to or ownership of the products in the warehouse—rather he serves as a logistics intermediary in the supply chain,” Anderson says. “Although the customer ships product to a 3PL warehouse to be held until further direction, no transfer of legal title of the food has occurred. Accordingly, we recommend that FDA clarify in the guidance document that ‘transfer’ occurs upon change of ownership, not a change in physical possession or control.”

He points out that the guidance issued by FDA correctly maintains the statutory standard holding a report is not required if the adulteration originated with the responsible party, which detected the adulteration prior to any transfer and corrected the adulteration or destroyed the article of food.

This clarification of the reference to “transfer” in the guidance that IWLA seeks would allow the customer of the 3PL warehouse to correct or destroy the adulterated product through contractual arrangements governed by the Uniform Commercial Code, Anderson said.

» Sysco Acquires Lincoln Poultry & Egg Co.

Sysco Corp., Houston, has acquired Lincoln Poultry & Egg Co., a broadline foodservice distributor based in Lincoln, NE. The management team and employees of Lincoln Poultry will become employees of Sysco.

“Lincoln Poultry’s high-quality operation and deep customer relationships represent an excellent growth opportunity for Sysco,” says Mike Green, Sysco’s executive vice president, foodservice operations.

Lincoln started as a fresh poultry and egg distribution business in 1957. It serves more than 800 customers which are primarily located throughout the central United States.

» ATA Supports Efforts To Reduce Truck Idling

The American Trucking Association and several of its affiliates support the Diesel Idle Reduction Campaign headed by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), in partnership with the District Department of the Environment, District Department of Transportation and Maryland Department of the Environment.

The aim of the campaign, which was launched on July 13, is to reduce discretionary idling, improve public health and protect the environment. The program is aligned with the goals of ATA’s Sustainability Initiative.

ATA launched its six-prong campaign in 2008, with one goal being the reduction of both discretionary and non-discretionary idling. Discretionary idling, the type being targeted by COG’s campaign, occurs when drivers leave engines running during their rest periods to provide heat or air conditioning for the sleeper compartment, keep the engine warm during cold weather and provide electrical power for their appliances.

Non-discretionary idling, which can be reduced by improvements to our national highway system that alleviate bottlenecks, occurs when vehicles are stuck in congested traffic.

“When truck and bus drivers turn off their engines when they’re not needed, they do more than avoid fines and cut fuel costs,” says Glen Kedzie, ATA’s vice president and environmental affairs. “They take an important and easy step toward improving air quality.”

Other components of the ATA sustainability plan include:
• Federal laws requiring trucks to have speed governors set at 65 mph or below and a national speed limit of 65 mph for all vehicles;
• Allowing more productive truck weights and combinations, which safely improve fuel economy;
• Expansion of the EPA SmartWay Transportation program, which works to reduce greenhouse gases and save fuel;
• Reducing idling by updating the interstate system and reducing traffic
congestion; and
• Developing fuel economy standards for commercial vehicles.

For more information about ATA’s Sustainability Initiative, visit For more information about the COG diesel idle reduction campaign, visit

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