OPINION: The cold storage industry is in desperate need of modernization – this could also impact food price inflation

Indian food processing industry is one of the largest sectors in terms of production, growth, consumption and export. The country is one of the largest producers of fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood in the world.

But regardless of production, the nation has limited access to produce, as a significant amount of waste is experienced throughout the supply chain in processing and delivery units due to unavailability of standard produce. . The cold chain Infrastructure.

A considerable amount of produce is spoiled every year due to various reasons which can be checked with the help of efficient cold chain facilities. Despite such a loss, in recent years the unanimous demand for fresh, locally produced or canned food has increased phenomenally.

Additionally, the meat, seafood, and biopharmaceuticals segments are driving the high demand for cold chain. It has the capacity to support large-scale food production and processing and limit food waste with the help of integrated refrigerated transport, packing centers, collection centers and cold storage.

The need has even been strongly felt during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a smooth supply chain throughout the country and even abroad. With the acceleration of Indian food industry, cold chain is becoming the most sought after facility.

Even the government offers comprehensive programs to strengthen cold storage infrastructure by reducing production waste. The entire agriculture, food processing and pharmaceutical industries can benefit from the infrastructure and embark on a journey of future growth.

Depending on the nature of the food, there are two types of cold rooms, namely active and passive cold rooms. Daily routine products like frozen food, ice cream, etc. require active storage with dynamic storage applications. It is supported by a wide range of temperature zones in the same warehouse for the storage of various products requiring different temperatures.

On the other hand, passive cold storage is intended for the long-term preservation of perishable goods like seeds, potatoes, onions, etc.

Regardless of the type of storage, humidity acts as a potential deterrent and wreaks havoc in the food industry by triggering a series of reactions leading to spoilage even after the best cold storage is installed. He is responsible for product icing, slippery floors, ice formation on conveyor belts and cooling coils. In addition, in the loading dock, the accumulation of frost causes the interior to fog up.

It is also responsible for the softening and sagging of cardboard, which makes it very unstable and dangerous. Therefore, humidity affects the cold chain sector by putting relentless pressure on defrosting costs, reduction in storage space, likelihood of frequent shutdowns, mold and mildew growth and a reduced cooling efficiency due to water vapor loads and clogging of evaporator coils.

Therefore, to limit the threat of humidity in the cold storage industry, it is important to deploy advanced dehumidification solutions to inhibit frost formation on evaporators and ice buildup on cooling coils. cooling. It contributes enormously to increase the productivity of the cold chain.

Desiccant dehumidification is the most economical and energy efficient solution that addresses the fogging and icing outlook of cooling coils by providing cool, dry air at a lower dew point than the room cold. It is well equipped to provide continuous dry air regardless of the surrounding conditions.

Considering that until now cold chains have been developed sporadically on a needs basis with limited resources and infrastructure, it is the need of the hour that such technology be installed in chain facilities. cold.

By controlling humidity levels, it not only solves the problem of icing and icing, but plays a pivotal role in achieving global safety and quality standards that will help India to become an international player as a quality food supplier.

The use of dehumidification can be a game-changer for the development of cold chains, as it can help cold store owners/exporters get better value for products, increase global trade and ultimately , to contribute to the country’s revenue model.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the author/interviewee do not necessarily reflect the views of Business Insider India. The article has been partially edited for clarity.

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