Würzburg, 18 October 2022: The Raisch bakery, a family-run business from Calw in Baden-Württemberg, has been using va-Q-tray boxes to transport various baked goods, such as cream cakes, snack items, and food from the cold kitchen, since 2020. By using the passive solution from va-Q-tec, the transport of baked goods to the 28 branches of the company is smoother and more efficient than with the previously used conventional EPS box.
Maximilian Raisch, World Bread Champion 2018 and one of the managing directors of Raisch Bakery, is primarily responsible for production and logistics. He spoke to va-Q-tec about the uses and advantages of the va-Q-tray.
Mr Raisch, first of all, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Let’s start with the first question: How many va-Q-tray boxes do you use and when did you start using them?
We have been using around 400 va-Q-tray 25 boxes in our bakery since 2020. In the summer of 2022, we increased our stock by around 800 va-Q-tray 15 boxes.
How did you become aware of the va-Q-tec products?
I saw the boxes for the first time at LogiMAT in Stuttgart and found the technology, and also the possible applications, very convincing. With the boxes we used for shipping before, the dimensions didn’t fit well with our basket systems, and they weren’t that robust, so we often had to replace lids or even entire boxes. So, we got in touch with va-Q-tec and got four va-Q-tray boxes for testing. During this test phase, we equipped the boxes with loggers to continuously check the temperature inside. We also carried out additional microbiological tests in cooperation with a laboratory. The results convinced us so much that we subsequently bought several hundred va-Q-trays. In the meantime, we have completely switched to the passive high-tech solution from va-Q-tec for various areas.
Which products do you transport using the va-Q-tray?
We now use the va-Q-trays for the entire cold confectionery, i.e. cakes, pies, and for the entire snack department. Everything that comes from the cold kitchen, such as salads or dressings, is also transported with the help of the va-Q-tray.
What challenges are there when transporting such goods?
Basically, maintaining the cold chain is particularly important when transporting perishable goods. Especially in summer, this is a real challenge. Our vehicles are usually on the road with the baked goods for two to three hours to the branches. During this time, temperature-stable transport must be guaranteed.
Because this is so important, we have carried out several long-term tests with the boxes. That means we measured the temperature inside the box very precisely with the help of a thermometer to detect any deviations. We repeated this test a total of three times and were absolutely convinced of the va-Q-tray box afterwards.
From your point of view, what are the advantages of the va-Q-tray?
The product has several advantages for us: The biggest advantage is the long temperature holding time. This means we can ensure the right cold chain for our products regardless of the season or traffic jams. The easy handling is another advantage. The boxes can be stacked with the existing crates, which significantly increases load security compared to EPS boxes. In addition, I don’t need an extra lid or separate cooling batteries like with the solution we used before. This means that fewer parts have to be cleaned, which saves time and money. It also saves space for us, especially during transport. In the past, even if I only sent two cream cakes, I had to use a whole refrigerated truck, now I can just send two boxes instead. The boxes also make the driver’s work much easier, especially because they are lighter. In addition, we save about 2.5 hours of time every day because a process step in the order picking is eliminated. Easy cleaning is also an advantage – because hygiene naturally plays a big role. We can simply rinse the va-Q-trays in our basket washing system.
What do your processes look like now that you are using the va-Q-tray?
When you look at the processes, you basically have to distinguish between the transport of confectionery products and the transport of snacks. First, we pre-cool the va-Q-trays overnight. For confectionery products like cakes, slices, and salads and dressings, we use the va-Q-tray 25. For cakes and slices we use special trays that fit into the va-Q-tray. For salads and dressings, we use standard GN containers, which we place in the va-Q-tray. The possibility of using the trays in combination with GN containers also simplifies our processes. We no longer have to transfer dressings between different containers but can place the GN containers from the va-Q-tray directly on the counter. When transporting snack items, we pack the products into the pre-cooled va-Q-tray 15, stack several boxes on top of each other, and can thus save a lot of space due to the lower height. After the goods have been removed from the boxes in the shops, they are returned to us within the same day, or on the next day. They are cleaned and then dried. After that, they can be reused immediately. The advantage is also that we don’t use accumulators or lids, which we would otherwise have to additionally clean.
Do you see other areas of application for the va-Q-tray in the future?
Yes, in principle many other products can be transported with the boxes in the future. We have recently started using the va-Q-tray 15, which offers a lot of potential, especially for the snack area.
Mr Raisch, thank you very much for the interview!