What is Cold chain?
The cold chain refers to managing the temperature of perishable products in order to maintain quality and safety from the point of origin through the distribution chain to the final consumer. With each type of food, the temperature of the Cold chain will be adjusted differently. Basically, there are the following standard temperature variables:
Deep Frozen: from -28 to -30 degrees Celsius. This is the coldest temperature, mainly used for transporting seafood.
Frozen: from -16 to -20 degrees Celsius, used for transporting meats.
Chiller: between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius, is the normal temperature in a refrigerator and is commonly used to transport fruits and vegetables for optimal shelf life.
In addition, a popular temperature variation of 13 degrees Celsius is used for Banana – The type of fruit that is most commonly produced and converted today.
The ability to maintain temperature for a long time depends on the material and method used for cooling. Main materials used during transportation include: Dry Ice, Gel Packs, Eutectic Plates, Liquid Nitrogen, Quilts and Reefers (QuiltsThe generic name for a temperature-controlled transport unit, which can be a van, small truck, a semi-trailer, or a standard ISO container)
Benefits of Cold Chain
Some benefits that Cold chain can bring in include:
- Reduce the spoilage rate of product, prolong the product cycle life:
The use of cold chain will extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables from 2-3 days up to 7 days when stored at home, as well as increase the time to display at store from 3 up to 7 days and reduce the loss by 60-70%. Therefore, Cold chain contributes to reducing inventory replacement costs and improving profitability at conversion.
- Increasing customer satisfaction: Reduced damaged rate products means that the defective order rate also decreases significantly, the supply chain also takes place continuously, contributing to improved customer satisfaction.
- Wider load spectrum: Thanks to the cold storage during transportation, the goods are always up to standard and to a minimum of the parts that fail in transit. This helps businesses improve their exports and gain access to new markets.
- Environmental protection and reducing carbon emissions:
According to John Mandyck, author of the book Food Foolish, the world’s annual food waste corresponds to the third largest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, after China and America. The Mandyck Certificate of Deloitte shows that if we add 1 ton of carbon in the form of using more refrigerated trucks to transport perishable food, we save 10 tons of carbon for treating spoiled food.
Application and potential
According to Prnewswire 1, a leading provider of news publishing and distribution as well as media-related software and services, the global Cold chain market was valued at $4.7 Billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 8.2 Billion by 2025, growing at an average annual rate of 12.5% during 2020-2025. In particular, the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals, fresh food, agricultural products are one of the potential factors promoting the development of the cold supply chain.
Applications in medicine
An estimated 25% of all health products such as vaccines and biology products are affected by temperature. To maintain the effectiveness of the regimen, it is important to store it under certain temperature conditions. According to statistics, worldwide sales of cryoprecipitated biopharmaceuticals will increase to around $300 Billion and this number is expected to grow by more than 8% annually through 2023.
Generally, vaccines need to be stored at a lower temperature of 2 – 8°C, however, in many cases, some vaccines require a lower temperature. For example, the Covid 19 Pfizer vaccine must be stored and transported at -70°C. Failure to meet the temperature requirements will cause great damage and loss. Therefore, cold storage and cold transport are always prioritized by manufacturers.
The application of Cold chain helps manufacturers control and keep the vaccine temperature at a reasonable level, while ensuring quality and extending products’ shelf life, helping businesses in the pharmaceutical industry reduce economic loss, avoid waste as well as greater benefits for patients.
Application in agricultural production, fresh food
According to international research firm IGD, the Asian food market will grow from 3.13 billion USD in 2018 to 4.3 billion USD in 2023. Currently, the population is growing rapidly along with the population becoming wealthier in Asia Pacific has boosted demand for fresh produce, consequently, demand for cold storage of supermarkets goes up. In addition, the trend of online shopping has increased sharply due to the impact of the pandemic, especially for daily essential items, which has further boosted the online shopping volume of fresh foods.
To be able to bring agricultural products or fresh food to foreign countries, the only way at present is to use Cold chain. For example, when exporting to the US market, fresh Vietnamese durians will be put into freezing warehouses with extremely cold temperatures at -40 degrees Celsius to preserve for a long time and ensure the best quality. Then it will be transferred to refrigerated containers to be further frozen at -18 degrees Celsius, transported by sea, and will be available in the US in about three weeks.
Many market reports suggest that cold storage demand will continue to grow strongly for at least the next half-decade as Vietnamese consumers are changing their shopping behavior because of the strong impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the cold chain is still the hottest segment of the logistics industry. As a result, Vietnam’s Cold chain is forecast to reach a value of USD 295 million in 2025 with a growth rate of 12% per year. Although it is an attractive market, it is not easy to invest in this segment. Because of the Cold chain, the long construction period and high cost are considered barriers.