From 1920 2020: A Fresh Food Supply Chain Retrospective



Supply chains and distribution systems have come a long way since the early 1920s. Back then, it was all about boats, trains, and wagons to move food from farms to cities. With the advent of trucks, planes, and cold storage, we were able to globalize our food supply and bring fresh produce to every corner of the world. In this post, we will take a look at how the fresh food supply chain has evolved over the past 100 years!

The 1920s were a time of great change for the food industry. Prior to this decade, most food was grown locally and sold in open-air markets. This began to change with the development of canning and freezing technologies, which allowed food to be shipped long distances without spoiling. The first refrigerated truck was invented in 1924, and by the end of the decade, these trucks were carrying millions of pounds of fresh produce from farms to cities across America.

The 1930s saw the advent of refrigerated rail cars, which allowed for even longer-distance transportation of perishable goods. This was a game-changer for the food industry, as it opened up new markets for farmers and food producers. In the 1940s, the first refrigerated container ships were developed, which allowed for the transport of perishable goods by sea.

The 1950s brought about another major change in the food industry: the development of jet aircraft. This new form of transportation made it possible to ship perishable goods anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. The 1960s saw the development of the first computerized inventory control systems, which helped to streamline the food supply chain and make it more efficient.

The 1970s were a time of great change for the fresh food supply chain. With the invention of containerization, food could now be shipped in standardized containers that could be easily loaded and unloaded by forklifts. This made it possible to ship food by truck, train, and plane without having to unload and reload each time. The 1980s saw the development of barcodes and scanners, which further streamlined the supply chain by allowing for automated tracking of inventory.

The 1990s were a time of continued innovation in the food supply chain. The development of GPS tracking systems allowed for real-time tracking of shipments, and the internet made it possible to track inventory and orders from anywhere in the world. In the 2000s, we saw the rise of e-commerce and online grocery shopping, which has revolutionized the way we buy food.

Today, the fresh food supply chain is more efficient and globalized than ever before. Thanks to advances in transportation and technology, we can now enjoy fresh produce from all over the world year-round. As we look to the future, we can only imagine what new innovations will further streamline and improve the fresh food supply chain. Whatever changes lie ahead, one thing is for sure: the food industry will never be the same!

How do you think the fresh food supply chain will change in the next 100 years? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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