Food waste is never good. It means loss of inventory as well as loss of money.
Here are a few things you can do to help keep the food and ingredients in your walk-in fresh and reduce waste for your business.
DON’T OVER STUFF YOUR WALK-IN REFRIGERATOR.
Make sure there is sufficient air circulation in your walk-in cooler. Cold air circulation prevent molds and other bacteria from having a chance to grow and flourish. There should be three inches of space between each container so all sides have access to fresh and flowing air. In addition to lack of circulation, over stuffing your unit leads to high utility bills since your walk-in usually has to work harder to cool more items.
BE STRATEGIC ABOUT ORGANIZATION.
More temperature sensitive foods such as raw meat and fish should be placed in the coldest areas of your unit. Generally, lower bottom shelves at back of your walk-in cooler tend to be coolest. Keep more stable items in warmer areas such as near the door (where warm air can infiltrate the cooler) and on top shelves (since heat rises).
MAKE SURE THE TEMPERATURE IS SET PROPERLY.
Depending on the inventory in your walk-in cooler, items require different temperatures to stay fresh. Find out the best storage temperatures for your specific inventory and ensure that the unit is set to the correct temperature range.
LEAVE EXTRA ROOM ON THE FLOOR AND DIRECTLY BELOW THE CEILING FOR AIR MOVEMENT.
Bottom shelves should be six inches off the floor to allow for proper circulation as well
as easy cleaning. In addition, avoid stacking items all the way to the ceiling or it will
block air movement.
FOLLOW FIFO GUIDELINES AND LABEL FOOD WITH DATES.
FIFO means first in, first out. Whatever item has been in the unit the longest should be removed first. In addition, labeling is essential to an organized cooler and greatly assists in reducing food waste. Labels should include the contents of items as well as the date they entered the freezer
and/or a produced on date. Read more in our previous post on Commercial Refrigeration Safety Guidelines.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your business reduce food waste and profit loss. Regular maintenance on your walk-in also ensures that it is working properly and storing your inventory to the best of its ability. Please contact us with any questions about food storage in your walk-in cooler.