The Fédération des cooperatives du nouveau-Québec (FCNQ) is owned by its fourteen member coops in Northern-Québec, Canada that are Managed by native Cree and Inuit staff.
Among their activities, from the head office in Baie d’Urfe (next to Montreal), they are responsible in large part to supply 14 remote northern Quebec communities (Nunavik) with anything “from a can of peas to the latest all-terrain vehicle to the most popular gaming console”. Thanks to FCNQ, Quebec’s most remote villages with names like Puvirnituk, Ivujivik, Salluit, Akilivik have access to what most of us take for granted as easily accessible in multiple retail points.
Amongst these articles fresh fruits and vegetables are an important and sensitive part of the supply.
FCNQ packs and prepares everything for transportation in their Baie d’Urfe facilities. Trucks the merchandise on a 17 hour ride to a remote Airport in Radisson Québec; from there the Air Inuit’s planes takes care of the final - but most unpredictable - leg of the journey.
"We know when produce leaves, but due to the unpredictable weather, we don’t know how long it will take to deliver the fresh food” says Paul Murdoch, FCNQ’s assistant manager – shipping and distribution. “If the weather is good, from our Baie d’Urfe location it can take as little as 2 days to reach its destination but due the weather some delays may occur”.
Once Air Inuit has permission to take-off, they load the merchandise in the planes. Sometimes the weather turns and doesn’t allow the plane to leave so the shipment is unloaded and back to the refrigerated storage room it goes…. Sometimes the weather delays delivery for several days in some communities!!
With clothes, this is no problem but not true for perishables... The stress the produce suffers from loading and unloading not to mention changes in temperature hastens ethylene emission accelerating maturity at a quicker pace to over-ripening and increases waste before it even reaches the consumer’s home.
In order to reduce waste and protect shelf life, they began to introduce BiOn® sachets to help maintain produce quality throughout the fruit’s long and bumpy journey. They noticed an immediate improvement in the quality so the response from the local coop stores was very positive...
One 5 gram sachet is placed in every box that can weigh up to 20kg – sometimes filled with one produce variety but often with mixed varieties in which case eliminating ethylene and volatiles from the surrounding air is crucial to avoid cross-contamination of high ethylene emitter together with produce that is more sensitive to ethylene.
We at Bioconservacion are proud to contribute our grain of salt to help the remote Inuit communities of Northern Quebec to receive their fruits and vegetables fresher and tastier.