Frozen food is gaining prominence in International Trade with the global population increasingly preferring to consume Ready-to-Eat foods. With a wide and diverse range of food products starting from fruits and vegetables, dairy products, bakery items, such as bread, jams, frozen pizza crusts, etc. meat, sea food, confectioneries, frozen desserts, exotic imported foods to ready-to-cook snack items like French fries, the frozen food industry has been witnessing continuous expansion in the recent years in the Indian Market. Today, we are seeing a variety of the above mentioned foods that are being catered to restaurants, cloud kitchens and the retail market.

With rapid changes being witnessed in the lifestyle of modern urban consumers, especially after COVID, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Global Frozen Food Market is projected to grow to USD 385.04 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 5.98% during the period between 2021-2028. According to IMARC Group, the Indian Frozen Foods Market is expected to reach INR 353.3 Billion by 2028, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 16% during 2023-2028. The size of the Indian Ice Cream Market was valued at USD 3.01 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% between 2023 and 2028, to reach a value of approximately USD 6.96 billion by 2028.

However, there continues to be many challenges in terms of adequate handling and processing of frozen and canned foods, especially during storage and transportation, which makes it necessary to have a robust, tech-enabled and seamless cold supply chain to be developed to support the growth of the Industry.

Some of the challenges that have been plaguing the Industry over the last few years are mentioned below:

● Maintaining Different Temperatures for Different Products: Storing frozen foods at optimal temperatures consistently is quite a challenge. Even if the storage facilities are maintained at the requisite temperatures, inefficient handling during transportation can cause damage to the product. Inefficient carrier vehicles, unskilled staff and delivery agents, conventional storage equipment like ice boxes and dry ice instead of well-equipped reefer vehicles, which could lead to inability to maintain the right temperature levels for storage of products that could compromise the shelf life of food products, thereby making them unfit for consumption.

● Food safety concerns: Inefficient storage or transport conditions pose a threat to safety of food products not only in terms of damages, but also a risk of cross-contamination and bacterial growth. Especially during summer months, there are higher chances of smaller temperature fluctuations causing massive contamination to food products, given the high humidity caused by the natural environment. Even slightest exposure to the natural environment can often render an entire batch of food products harmful, leading to bigger losses and healthcare risks.

The need for maintaining a constant temperature for ensuring the sustained storage of frozen foods is a major concern. However, most challenges faced by the frozen food industry can be solved with a robust cold chain infrastructure. Here are some of the ways by which a well-established cold chain infrastructure can drive the growth of the Indian Frozen Food Industry:

1. Efficient and Consistent Storage Environment

Logistics Network

By leveraging tech-enabled solutions that are linked with AI and ML, it is possible to create and monitor temperature-controlled storage environments for various frozen food products, including vegetables, fruits, ice creams and desserts and even for raw materials. Technologies like IoT can help in maintaining the ideal temperature and humidity levels, thereby enabling businesses to identify potential weaknesses and also maintain the integrity of the cold chain. Cold storage facilities equipped with remote monitoring systems can communicate logs and events to businesses. IoT provides live data about product temperature and location, facilitating better analysis and decision-making.

2. Reduced Losses due to Wastage

Businesses often face huge losses due to spoilage. Fluctuations in temperature can render the product unfit for consumption. Consistently maintaining the right temperature levels during the stages of both storage and transportation becomes vital to reduce damages that can be caused to frozen foods, thereby preventing unnecessary wastage of frozen foods. Automation solutions with the latest technologies can contribute to enhanced productivity, greater accuracy and faster fulfillment. This would in turn be able to help ensure food security by preventing unnecessary losses that might have to be incurred on account of food wastage.

3. Effective Distribution

Efficient distribution is an inseparable part of the cold supply chain infrastructure and effective and tech enabled reefer vehicles go a long way in facilitating smooth transportation and distribution of frozen foods. Specialized distribution centers dedicated to supporting the effective storage of frozen foods play a critical role in the effective distribution, especially for products being shipped internationally. With dedicated micro-warehouses and a robust fleet of reefer vehicles with live tracking and tracing, allow end-to-end visibility helping businesses verify if the products are being transported at the right temperatures and making it to the destination on time, without damages to the products.

4. Enhanced Food Quality and Customer Satisfaction

In line with the above mentioned points, a robust and efficient cold supply chain can do wonders when it comes to preserving the freshness and quality of frozen foods, including desserts and maintain temperature integrity, which can in turn help in extending the shelf life of all types of food products. This would help enhance the customer experience and create a positive brand reputation in the minds of the customers.

Storage Units Logistics Centre

Cold storage and transportation infrastructure is indeed the backbone of the frozen food industry. It guarantees improved product safety, quality and integrity. A proper Cold Chain Infrastructure ensures access to new markets and increased opportunities for imports and exports for the frozen food businesses. With more and more innovations happening in the cold chain market in the recent years, there is a tremendous opportunity for frozen food businesses to cater to the consumer demands more efficiently, which would help the Industry to reach greater heights in the coming years.



About the Author:
Swarup Bose
Founder & CEO,
Celcius Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd.


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An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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