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Chill out: how to deal with frozen food in automation

Published: 24. August 2023

This blog post is part 3 of 7, in a series that will discuss each key point from the StrongPoint webinar “Top 7 things to consider when doing grocery automation“.

We get cold 

As engineers with a deep understanding of the intricacies of grocery retail, we recognize the critical role frozen food logistics and handling play in the success of a store. Despite the increasing popularity of ready-made meals, frozen foods often face challenges within the e-commerce supply chain. Consumers tend to overlook these items when shopping online due to concerns about melting and inadequate handling during delivery. 

However, neglecting the frozen-food segment is a mistake that retailers cannot afford to make. Continuous improvement in the quality of frozen food, coupled with a growing range of vegetarian and vegan options, has significantly driven demand. Factors such as convenience, value and long-term preservation have made frozen foods increasingly popular for consumers looking to manage their busy lifestyles and cope with the cost-of-living crisis. 

Combing cold zones for efficiency 

When it comes to offering frozen foods, conventional grocers, unlike specialized frozen food retailers, face limitations in terms of space and product range. However, when online orders are fulfilled separately from the physical store and handled with care, these limitations can be overcome, providing an opportunity for an expanded and unconstrained range of frozen food options to be made available to consumers. 

Energy efficiency is another crucial consideration in the frozen food industry. With rising energy costs and a growing emphasis on sustainability, reducing energy consumption and maintaining a climate-neutral supply chain have become vital concerns for refrigerated logistics.  

In addressing these challenges, we are proud to discuss our collaboration with AutoStore to pilot the world’s first multi-temperature unified picking system. This groundbreaking technology allows ambient, chilled, and frozen items to be located within the same automated system. By integrating these temperature zones, the unified picking system not only optimizes efficiency and accuracy but also significantly reduces energy usage by up to 30% compared to traditional refrigerated storage methods. This pioneering solution represents a major leap forward in improving frozen e-commerce logistics and demonstrates our commitment to being a leader of innovation in the industry. 

Through our engineering expertise and strategic partnerships, we aim to revolutionize the way frozen food is handled and delivered in the e-commerce space. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and optimizing energy consumption, we are committed to ensuring the safe and efficient transportation of frozen goods, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and enabling retailers to capitalize on the growing demand for frozen food. 

Innovation means sustainability 

As engineers immersed in the intricacies of frozen food logistics, we recognize the significant potential and challenges associated with this segment. By embracing technological advancements, such as our collaboration with AutoStore, we are dedicated to improving the efficiency, energy usage and customer experience associated with e-commerce solutions for frozen goods. Together, we are shaping the future of the industry and paving the way for a more streamlined and environmentally conscious approach to handling frozen food.