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Cold Chain Growth Trends

by Mary Rooney | Feb 17, 2021

From Food Logistics Magazine

Several catalysts are expected to fuel the growth in the cold chain sector. The pandemic has created growth opportunities within the cold chain industry, resulting in propelling the demand for cold chain outsourcing, refrigerated transportation, warehousing and many other areas. There are also several other key areas that are driving exponential growth and trend shifts in the cold chain markets. Some of these key trends include:

Consumers have an insatiable appetite for fresh foods.
Health trends are pushing more and more consumers toward healthier diets, resulting in an increased demand for specialty foods. Some of this has been accelerated by people wanting healthier choices when spending more time at home. Most data are now pointing to consumers demanding fresh diet choices moving forward, which will be dependent on cold chain capacity. With this demand acceleration for fresh and organic diets, grocers must ensure perishable foods are ripe, appealing and that the selection is abundant to stay competitive.

International shipping delays create an increase in cold chain warehousing capacity.
International movement of refrigerated products continue to be delayed as a result of the pandemic. With the advent of new foreign food inspection regulations, port congestion, reefer container shortages and port congestion being the nemesis of expedited food delivery, cold chain storage has been a hot growth area. Investment in cold chain storage and refrigerated food conveyance is on the top of the charts for investors with double-digit growth projections for the next few years.

Technology plays a more significant role in the cold chain. 
With COVID-19 and global regulatory framework constantly changing, technology will expand its critical role in visibility, monitoring and compliance going forward. The need for tracing food sources and monitoring environmental conditions of food cargo events will be elevated since inspection processes will be streamlined as compliance rigor increases. In addition, as transit times increase due to the supply chain challenges connected to COVID-19, controlled-atmosphere refrigerated technology will become more necessary.

Access to additional labor, transportation capacity planning and redundancy will be a priority for the cold chain to be reliable. 
Until the vaccine is widely distributed and available, the cold chain transportation networks will continue to be disrupted. Labor shortages, quarantine impacts and delivery conveyance will continue to be challenged with inconsistent performance and reliability as a result of the virus. These pandemic-related impacts will create the need for companies to re-visit their planning strategy, incorporating redundancy and contingency options. This will also create demand for incremental outsourcing with services being necessary to accommodate for virus prevention cold chain related activities.

Efficient and effective cold chain management will be an ongoing challenge for all cold chain stakeholders who bear the responsibility for ensuring uninterrupted delivery of temperature-controlled products to key markets throughout the world. Fortunately, it has already been proven that the cold chain industry can quickly adapt and innovate to serve the increasingly more complex supply chain. Recent trends, emerging innovation and nascent cold chain technology will continue to shape the ever-changing requirement for the refrigerated and cold chain markets.

Read the full Food Logistics article. 

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