Up to the late 19th century people only ate what they could grow, or what nearby farmers had to offer. For those living in harsher climates that meant a limited and bland winter diet, and the annual ‘spring sickness’ due to a lack of vitamins throughout the cold months.
Nobody transported fruit and vegetables beyond the shortest of distances due to the risk of spoilage, or the fear that freezing weather would cause delays and ruin entire shipments.
Then came refrigerated rail cars in the 1880s, and the first link in the cold chain was forged. Fast-forward to today and this chain is now a global phenomenon:
- The frozen food market was estimated at $219.9 billion in 2018
- It’s projected to reach $282.5 billion during 2023
Underlying this growth (CAGR of 5.1%) however is still the same basic demand: bringing exotic foods to domestic markets in perfect condition, irrespective of seasonality or geographical distance.
Growth in the cold chain
As for what’s driving this growth, there are three main points to consider:
- The increased consumption of frozen food products in emerging markets due to increases in disposable income
- Changing consumption patterns in urban centres, and a rise in demand for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables – alongside ready meals
- Developments in packaging and shelf life enhancements that open up additional markets, both domestic and international
The demand for fruit and vegetables
For frozen fruits and vegetables, where demand is projected to reach 751 million tons by 2027:
- Vegetables account for approximately 90% of the global segment in 2017
- Globally, Europe is the largest consumer and exporter of frozen vegetables
- Demand for frozen fruit is also high in Europe, due to the variable temperatures prevalent in the region
On-going investments in the cold chain
The infrastructure behind the cold chain has played an important role in the export and import of frozen food – an infrastructure that continues to expand in line with demand.
Retailers however face bigger challenges as individual cold chains lengthen. This is the problem of uneven coverage and distribution, where certain sections of the chain are overprovisioned and others lack a sustainable capacity.
Storage is of course a key factor. Another is transportation, and maintaining a constant temperature while loads are shipped.
At any time of day or night, there are millions of tons of frozen food in transit. And as cold chains have become more efficient, their cost has markedly dropped.
One location that has been challenging for the cold chain to access has been the last mile. Characterised by frequent stops, tight space and strict noise and emission control, it’s a tough challenge for refrigerated vehicles to deliver in. But thanks to our all-electric cooling, the Frigoblock product range is uniquely suited for the last mile.
- All-electric cooling means emission-free refrigeration, granting your fleet access to LEZs and ULEZs.
- The lack of a diesel engine in the refrigeration unit also significantly lowers the amount of noise your vehicle will make, unlocking noise-controlled areas of the city centre
- Top-of-the-line technology means fast pull-down and precise cooling in single or multi-temp configurations, perfect for varied deliveries with multiple stops along the way
For retailers wanting to reduce this risk, the need for dependable, high-performing refrigerated transport is therefore of paramount importance. Investing in the latest harvest of cherries, lychees, peas, or spinach might make commercial sense – but not if they arrive in poor condition or with a severely restricted shelf life.
Putting knowledge to work
It is here that expertise is a vital commodity. At Frigoblock we’ve spent years researching the perfect temperature for individual products and minimizing product spoilage.
Our mission is to help retailers make the most of their investments in distant food crops by ensuring:
- Consistent temperatures for any load or journey – with no fluctuations even when multiple door openings and deliveries are involved
- Responsive visibility – to monitor the conditions of loads in transit, and the ability to react instantly to any emerging problem
- 24/7 urban access – with quieter running, lower- and zero-emission technologies
Protect your cold chain investments
When moving large quantities of fruit and vegetables across an extended cold chain, it’s reassuring to know that the best all-electric technology, knowledge, and service infrastructure is backing you up every step of the way.
This is the promise offered by Frigoblock. To learn more about our retail solutions, explore our products here: