March 8, 2024

Running on Ice: Autonomous trucks deliver food


All thawed out

(Photo: Kodiak Robotics)

Big things are happening between Dallas and Oklahoma City and it’s not a tornado. Kodiak Robotics has partnered with The Martin-Brower Co. to bring temperature-controlled freight to quick-service restaurants using Kodiak’s autonomous trucks.

The duo has been working together since July 2022 and has completed more than 600 autonomous deliveries. In this specific instance, the route between Dallas and Oklahoma City is considered a “shuttle lane,” and the autonomous trucks are taking goods from hub to hub for local drivers to complete the final delivery.

“Your next order of fries may have traveled on a Kodiak truck,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO at Kodiak. “Autonomous trucks are well-suited to the difficult work of long-haul driving, while allowing our partners’ local drivers to handle last-mile deliveries and provide a personal touch for customers. Martin Brower’s shuttle lane model is an ideal application for Kodiak that enables us to demonstrate the value of our technology within our customers’ existing networks.”

Temperature checks

(Photo: Shutterstock)

A second life could be in the works for an old abandoned vertical farming operation in Pittsburgh. The Braddock building, home of the abandoned operation, could become a state-of-the-art food manufacturing and cold storage facility, according to the latest proposal for redevelopment.

The current building owner, RDC Design + Build, is making the move to have a cold storage facility because there is a large need for food production and cold storage facilities in the region, but also because the existing vertical farm has processing features that can be modified to become food-grade. RDC hopes to have the conversion complete at the end of this year.

Food and drugs

(Photo: Business Wire)

Coming to the local deli aisle is the newest plant-based offering from Oscar Mayer. The Kraft Heinz Not Co. debuted the new NotHogDogs and NotSausages. This is the first plant-based offering from Oscar Mayer and is the first joint venture between Kraft Heinz and TheNotCo.

According to a Kraft Heinz news release, “The United States plant-based market is projected to skyrocket from $8.3 billion in 2023 to $19 billion by 2030. However, plant-based hot dogs and dinner sausage links remain underdeveloped and under-consumed within the broader plant-based meat category.”

The innovation will start rolling out at stores later this year, potentially in time for summer barbecue season. The jury might still be out on taste, but there is one thing we’ll have to figure out with this development. Is a plant-based hot dog a sandwich?

Cold chain lanes

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Capacity is Jacksonville, Florida, is loosening. Both reefer outbound tender rejections and reefer outbound tender volumes have dropped substantially in the past week: volumes by 28.4% and rejections by 380 basis points.

Rejections dropping to under 2% essentially means just about any load is getting picked up, which is great for shippers but not so great for carriers looking to run at a profit. Ultimately this is a perfect opportunity for shippers looking to save on transportation costs early in the year but less than ideal for carriers.  

Is SONAR for you? Check it out with a demo!

Shelf life

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Wanna chat in the cooler? Shoot me an email with comments, questions or story ideas at [email protected].

See you on the internet.

Mary

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