The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the cold chain market in China for 2017-2021. The report also lists refrigerated storage and refrigerated transport as the two major segments by type, of which the refrigerated storage segment accounted for more than 78% of the market size in 2016.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the cold chain market in China:
- Rising focus on reduction of food wastage
- Growing need to improve shelf life of food
- Increase in demand for frozen food
Rising focus on reduction of food wastage
The rate at which food is wasted in China is on the higher side because of inadequate and inefficient cold chain infrastructure. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that more than one-third of the annual food production in the world (more than 1.3 billion tons) does not reach consumers. In addition, it is estimated that about 15%–20% of fruits and vegetables are wasted in China owing to improper storage facilities.
The loss of perishable food in developing countries, including China, is estimated to be between 20% and 50% because of the lack of cold storage facilities. To overcome this daunting challenge, the Chinese government is focusing on developing and implementing solutions to maintain the freshness of food items for a longer duration. The government has invested more than USD 1 billion on projects to curb food wastage.
“The development of cold chain facilities will be directly proportional to the reduction in loss and wastage from the food industry. Therefore, the increased need to reduce food wastage is one of the key drivers for the market growth,” says Sharan Raj, a lead analyst at Technavio for logistics research.
Growing need to improve shelf life of food
The shelf life of a food product indicates the number of days within which it has its quality intact and is safe to consume. Several factors determine the perishability of cold chain products, and the temperature is the most important factor because it is directly related to the rate of product deterioration. Typically, products moving through cold chain facilities are either chilled or frozen. Chilling involves reducing the temperature of the food to below an ambient temperature. Chilling is an effective tool for the short-term preservation of food because it reduces many of the biochemical reactions associated with food deterioration. Freezing preserves the storage life of foods by slowing down harmful reactions from microbes and oxidation, which limit the shelf life. These methods can also preserve the taste, texture, and nutritional value of foods better than other temperature-sensitive preservation methods.
Increase in demand for frozen food
There are numerous factors, such as increasing disposable incomes, changing consumption patterns, and rapid urbanization, which are driving the demand for frozen food in China. At present, there are nearly 2,500 frozen food manufacturers across China, and the annual production is over 20 million metric tons.
The consumption of frozen food in China is expected to increase owing to the rapid urbanization in the country, which is estimated to be more than 39% of the overall food consumption. This provides a massive room for development in the Chinese frozen food industry in the future.
“Manufacturers are increasingly investing in production capability and product innovation to meet the rise in demand for frozen food. Furthermore, consumers are showing interest in frozen foods because of their functional benefits, which contribute to good health and well-being. This is further boosting the demand for cold storage systems in China,” says Sharan.
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