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The importance of cold chain in frozen food sector

In India, frozen food is among the emerging markets and is right now trending. In fact, India is approximately last in implementing cold chain technology that is fast and reliable. It is well known that almost 40% of the food consumed in the western world is frozen.

For a long time in India, it was ice cream that made a cold chain necessary. But that is changing fast. French fries, parathas, spring rolls, ready-to-cook kebabs, sauces, gravies, pizzas, and more can be bought from your local grocery store. You can store them in your freezer and use them as and when needed.

A typical Indian notion is that fresh cooked food is healthy, but science thinks otherwise, and with the right technology, freezing food naturally locks in all the nutrients into the food. Check the back of the packet for any food you buy. As long as it is not high in saturated fats or sodium, it is as healthy as fresh food. (This is not my opinion; these are facts).

In the late 1990s, it was normal for any food service business to buy potatoes, peel, cut, parboil, and then fry them to make French fries. Today, 95% of food service businesses buy frozen French fries. This has been facilitated by an increasingly robust cold chain.

Companies are rising all over India, offering cross-state logistics in refrigerated trucks. Some distributors are setting up vehicle fleets that have freezers on wheels. It has become a lucrative business. To improve consistency and reduce costs, the food service industry is now extensively using these products, including peas, cheese, butter, seafood, meat, sauces, gravies, and frozen snacks. Customers benefit from consistent products no matter where they are. They also get a price advantage since this process reduces wastage and helps the business’s bottom line.

The government’s Make in India Act is also a strong motivator for cold chain implementation. Many previously imported products are now manufactured in-house. Examples include French cheese, Italian gelato, cured meats, frozen croissants, frozen pizzas, etc.

The push to make these in India has many benefits. For one, it represents a significant reduction in costs. Second, with self-sustainable production, we cut out the dependence on external factors. The war in Ukraine and the subsequent supply chain disruptions caused many issues with imported food products. But Indian-made products did not suffer and had a dream run.

It is reassuring that India is adopting the frozen food revolution, and people’s mental blocks are easing. As the adoption of healthier, more nutritious frozen foods grows, we are likely to move towards the large-scale adoption of western standards of frozen foods. Indian freezer space is increasing, and these signs are very encouraging.

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