Catalyst Food Consulting

Challenges of Product Quality

           Challenges of Product Quality

Ensuring product quality till it reaches the customer is an arduous task.
The farm-to-table journey of a product undergoes various stages, such as
farming, production, processing, packing, logistics, warehousing, distribution,
and customer delivery. Even a minor lapse or compromise in these legs can
damage the product and make it unsafe for human consumption.
Let us analyze some of the significant challenges in achieving good product
Apart from reducing the yield, the skewed proportion of soil micronutrients
badly affects the properties of the fruit, such as taste, and makes them prone
to various pest attacks or diseases. It makes soil fertility restoration through
scientific methods such as soil testing, soil treatment, acidity regulators, and
micronutrient supplements the primary element in ensuring product quality.
Seed Quality:
High-yielding, disease-resistant seeds that can produce high-quality fruits or
vegetables with extended shelf life significantly reduce our dependence on
fertilizers and pesticides.
Ensuring adequate water availability based on their growth stages and
climatic conditions are essential for any plant’s optimal growth. However,
water contamination, mainly due to heavy metals, can drastically affect
product quality.
Fertilizers and Pesticides:
Fertilizers are essential for providing the appropriate micronutrient levels for
the plant at different stages of its growth. Still, the hazardous effects of
indiscriminate usage of fertilizers and pesticides are a significant challenge
for product quality.
Over-dependence on chemical solutions:
Organic manures and bio-degradable pesticides or insecticides are the most
appropriate means for producing foods for humans. But the limited availability
and non-viability of these eco-friendly solutions force farmers to depend
heavily on chemical fertilizers or pesticides. And it badly reduces the soil
fertility levels and food quality.
Seasonal Challenges:
Seasonal challenges like prolonged droughts, floods, freezing, summer rains,
wind, heat waves, weather pattern changes, natural calamities, and seasonal
diseases are some influential contributors to the decline in product quality.
Pathological Threats:
Changes in the ecosystem, predominantly due to increased chemical
residues and climate change, affect the presence, growth, and behavior of
various pathogens in the agricultural environment. It flares multiple types of
bacterial, viral, or fungal diseases in the plants leading to severe crop loss
and quality issues.
Animal Menace:
Due to the increased availability of food, many animals such as rodents,
birds, flies, insects, small animals, and snakes find farmlands a favorable
environment for their life. These animals can be a potential source of germs,
viruses, funguses, or bacteria, and the diseases can seriously damage the
product quality and production outcomes.
Improper Harvesting:
Improper harvesting or picking by unskilled laborers, inappropriate tools, or
faulty machines can damage the products.
Processing Defects:
Incompetent processing facilities, defective machinery, and poor temperature
management can increase the possibilities of product damage.
Poor Packing:
Sub-standard packing practices such as using low-grade packing material,
negligence of recommended packaging guidelines, and improper palletstacking
are common causes of increased perishability of products.
Faulty Temperature Settings:
Incorrect temperature levels at warehouses, distribution channels, or logistics
points can damage the product.
Safe positioning of consignments:
Ensure secure positioning of the products while loading and unloading the
consignments during processing or distribution.
Product Shielding:
The package should ensure complete protection for the product from rain,
snow, water leak, chemical spillage, or mixing with other products during
Product Positioning:
Incorrect usage of product positioning equipment at warehouses or
distribution points such as Pallet jacks, Forklifts, and dock lifts can badly
damage the products.
Inventory Rotation Problems:
Improper inventory rotation at the warehouses or distribution network leads to
conditional defects that reduce shelf life and shorten the expiry date of the
Shipping Time Optimization issues:
Delivery delays, the absence of proper preservation systems, or logistics
inefficiency can reduce the quality and shelf life of the products.
Selection Challenges:
While performing inventory selection for the select store, always take
maximum precautions. Even slight negligence in tool selection, rotation
guidelines, wrapping, box handling, and staging at the correct temperatures
can severely harm product quality.
Pick slot Arrangement:
Proper arrangement of pick slots at the warehouses based on various
parameters such as product size, weight, strength, product type, quantity,
pallet stack, and proximity with other products is essential in ensuring product
Temperature Maintenance:
Ensure that each slot is at the right temperature by performing regular
temperature checks and maintaining temperature logs.
Using auto sensor doors as entry doors at each temperature zone, such as
450F, 550F, 360F, etc., will protect the product from damage due to
temperature fluctuations.
Usage of appropriate bags:
The mistake of using a single type of bag for the picking or selection process
for every product can severely damage the product. Using bags like banana
bags, slip sheets, or blankets as per the product features can benefit in many
Shipping Temperature Management:
The chances of temperature fluctuations are high during transportation. To
avoid product damage due to this temperature inconsistency, ensure the
correct working of temperature probing devices in each inbound and
outbound load through regular monitoring.
Mixing of products:
Unless proper preventive measures are taken, product mixing across different
categories such as frozen, dairy, and dry products is high during the shipping
and selection process. Sometimes, it makes the product unsuitable for human
Prevent cross-contamination:
Quality compromised products can contaminate nearby products by
spreading disease-causing microbes such as fungus, bacteria, or viruses
through air and touch. So the timely removal of products with conditional or
quality defects is essential to avoid large-scale damage due to the rotting of
Shelf temperature management:
The possibility of a temperature fall is relatively high in retail stores due to the
frequent opening of the shelves. A system that monitors the temperature of
each shelf and maintains it automatically is essential in ensuring the quality of
food products.
Shipping damages:
Non-professional handling of consignments during unloading operations is
one of the leading causes of product damage during shipping. The store
should deploy competent professionals, equipment, and operational
guidelines to ensure the safe unloading of products and their storage at the
specified temperature zones.
Home delivery Concerns:
The delay in delivery, absence of a proper packing system, or inadequate
delivery bags can reduce product quality. If you offer home delivery or
curbside pick, the store should ensure timely delivery of the product without
any compromise on the recommended product storage guidelines.
Customer Awareness:
Stuffing the refrigerator or freezer with all food items is a common habit of
most houses worldwide. The store or food producer should educate the
customer with the required information about proper storage methods such as
wrapping and temperature zone for each product.

Author: Jose Jacob

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