The cold chain logistics market was valued at €764,239.31 in 2022, with a real growth rate of 1.5% up from €752,794.81m in 2021. Ti has forecast that the market will grow to €776,755.81m by the end of 2023, an increase of 1.6%. Global, regional and country level data is available on GSCi.
Underlying demand for cold chain
The underlying drivers of international and national cold chain are robust. Food production and consumption has seen sustain increases over the past 20 years. Using UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) statistics we can see that all major categories of food production have increased. This growth has been driven by both the traditional types of product that have been the basis of much trade in food products, such as beef and grains, but also newer categories such as exotic fruits and fish.
Chinese Pork Imports Metric Tonnes
Global Meat Production in Millions Metric Tonnes
Emerging economies account for a substantial part of this growth over the past twenty years. In particular China has increased its imports of food stuffs enormously over the past ten years. Although China is a major food producer itself, it conforms to the common pattern of producing most of its food domestically but importing key products. This is even the case with pork, where China is the world largest producer yet still needs to import additional volumes from North America and elsewhere. Such is the scale of the Chinese market that it shapes the market for sea containerised reefers- or ‘box reefers’- in particular.
Cold chain logistics also reflect higher disposable incomes. Frozen and chilled products substitute for other types of foods that need to be sourced locally, are of lower quality or utilise more costly logistics. Cold chain can deliver improvements in the cost and quality of many foods, however in many sophisticated markets consumers are not always convinced by all frozen products, prizing freshness more. Japan and Italy are examples of this.
The overall growth of the food chain is being limited by high food inflation across the world. Food consumption can be an extremely wasteful activity meaning expenditure on food can be variable. Firstly, consumers can decide to choose cheaper alternatives, so volumes aren’t reduced, but rather shifted across to more budget suppliers in the market. However sustained inflation has meant the consumer has ultimately reduced the volume of food consumed as they have become more conscious of waste.
Global Cold Chain Logistics Market Size 2021 – 2023 (F) (m€)
Author: Thomas Cullen & Julia Swales
Source: Ti Insights
Supply chain strategists can use GSCi – Ti’s online data platform – to identify opportunities for growth, support strategic decisions, help them stay abreast of industry trends and development, as well as understand future impacts on the industry.