Consumers expect product availability as well as product quality and safety in retail outlets. When designing or re-designing fruit and vegetables supply chain networks one has to take these demands into consideration next to traditional efficiency and responsiveness requirements. In food science literature, much attention has been paid to the development of Time-Temperature Indicators to monitor individually the temperature conditions of food products throughout distribution as well as quality decay models that are able to predict product quality based upon this information. This chapter discusses opportunities to improve the design and management
of fruit and vegetables supply chain networks. If product quality in each step of the supply chain can be predicted in advance, good flows can be controlled in a pro-active manner and better chain designs can be established resulting in higher product availability, higher product quality, and less product losses in retail.
This chapter works towards a preliminary diagnostic instrument, which can be used to assess supply chain networks on QCL (Quality Controlled Logistics). Findings of two exploratory case studies, one on the tomato chain and one on the mango chain,
are presented to illustrate the value of this concept. Results show the opportunities and bottlenecks for quality controlled logistics depend on product—(e.g. variability in quality), process—(e.g. ability to use containers and sort on quality), network-
(e.g. current level of cooperation), and market characteristics (e.g. higher prices for better products).