Refcold India, 2023, South Asia’s leading exhibition and conference dedicated to refrigeration and cold-chain technologies, was held at the Chennai Trade Centre from 12 to 14 September. The three-day expo hosted over 200 exhibitors, along with more than 10,000 visitors and innovators from retail, pharma, seafood, milk and dairy products, fruits & vegetables, frozen foods, food service, processing, production, distribution, logistics, and transportation Industries.
Organized in collaboration between the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) and Informa Markets, Refcold India 2023 redefined the industry landscape. This well-reputed event represented a significant step forward in the refrigeration and cold-chain sector, unveiling a vast potential cold-chain market of around Rs 4.3 trillion by 2027.
An array of dignitaries attended the inauguration, including R Velraj, vice chancellor, Anna University; M Sriraam, chairman, Refcold Chennai, ISHRAE; Yogesh Thakkar, National president, ISHRAE, Anoop Ballaney, national president Elect, ISHRAE, and Yogesh Mudras, managing director, Informa Markets in India.
India’s cold chain market is segmented into cold chain storage and cold chain logistics. As of 2022, the cold chain logistics segment accounted for 55.42% of the total market share. By the end of 2027, the cold chain logistics segment is expected to hold a share of around 55.51% of the overall market.
The wastage levels in perishables in India are significantly high- 4.6- 15.9% in fruits, 5.2% in inland fish, 10.5% in marine fish, 2.7% in meat and 6.7% in poultry. Adequate and efficient cold chain infrastructure from farm gate to consumers is required to arrest the high losses in supply chain of perishables.
Many global cooling and logistics companies are stepping up their operations in the cold chain sector in India eyeing the huge potential in a large-sized agriculture driven country, which also happens to be the world’s second-largest producer of grains, vegetables, and fruits. The country’s vast production base, which includes meat, seafood, exotic fruit, and vegetable varieties has a sizable agro-export market as well, with India exporting fruits and vegetables worth Rs160 billion.
Sharing his ideas on the way to sustainable refrigeration and cold chain solutions,R Velraj said “Technology empowers us and represents the contribution of the engineer. 15% of agricultural production is wasted, while over 10% of marine products lose value owing to inadequate preservation. Sustainability in economic progress depends on inclusivity. The potential for yearly growth in the refrigeration and cold chain sector is 19%. Integration of cool energy storage with solar energy can reduce expenses. Multidisciplinary methods should be embraced by entrepreneurs. Agriculture, medicine, marine preservation, logistics, energy efficiency, and tiny refrigerated trucks are all integrated into sustainability. We can outperform the anticipated 18.4% increase if we take the appropriate approach. Events like Refcold India serve as a platform to showcase these cutting-edge facilities, playing a pivotal role in molding the future of the refrigeration and cold chain industry.”
The cold supply chain has been one of the most emerging HVAC sectors in India. Lot of opportunities are being observed in the cold chain industry in India as large production and distribution of perishable food products are happening across the country. Increasing urbanization and growth of organized retail, food servicing and food processing sector are responsible to enhance the growth of the cold storage chain industry in India. Also, the Government of India has taken several policy level and schematic steps to increase investment in this sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Yogesh Thakkar said, “The adoption of integrated cold chain solutions has the potential to significantly revolutionize the traditional perishables sector, bringing about substantial changes in the market landscape and overall growth. This is especially important in a country where agriculture employs 60% of the population. To harness the potential of integrated cold chain solutions, there is a need to optimize logistics, enhance value addition facilities, adopt green refrigeration practices, and adopt energy-efficient cooling systems and natural refrigerants ultimately improving efficiency across the supply chain. Similarly, the Indian organized food industry is a vast arena with significant potential.
This underscores the substantial room for growth in the food delivery sector, which, when integrated with advanced refrigeration and cold chain solutions, can further enhance food quality, safety, and delivery efficiency. Indian cold chain market is expected to reach Rs4.3 trillion by 2027 with a CAGR of 14.27% from 2023 to 2028. The pandemic acted as a catalyst, propelling India’s online food delivery market to reach approximately $21 billion by 2026, with a remarkable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 30%. In this evolving landscape, the HVAC and Refrigeration industry takes on a pivotal role, with ISHRAE and Refcold poised to be key contributors to this journey.”
Expressing his thoughts on selecting Chennai as the launch location for the show Raja M Sriraam stated, “Successfully launching Refcold India 2023 in the refrigeration and cold-chain industry in Chennai, India, holds great significance. Chennai, known as a prominent seafood exporting port with well-established food product processing and storage facilities, is an ideal choice for hosting this event. Our event features a diverse range of activities, including technical talks, conferences, seminars, and presentations by distinguished speakers who will impart valuable insights to our participants. We have received substantial support from various sectors, including dairy, seafood, food preservation, and cold room industries, setting a promising tone for this crucial industry gathering.”
The sixth edition of Refcold India brought together top experts, businesses, and thought leaders who are driving the industry’s transformation with over 200 exhibitors, including an impressive lineup of industry giants such as BlueStar, Copeland, Rinac India, Tecumseh, Daikin, K-Flex, Yaskawa, and Danfoss, among others. The show anticipates more than 10,000 visitors, industry leaders, and professionals, for dynamic business opportunities, knowledge-sharing sessions, and networking.
Madhur Sehgal, head of Climate Solutions Sales – India Region, Danfoss said, “Refrigeration’s pivotal role in food preservation is undeniable, focus on cold chain solutions is increasing yet there is a scarcity of reefer trucks. The industry should anticipate an annual growth rate of 20% in the next 4-5 years. A significant transition is underway, transitioning from HCFCs and HFCs to natural refrigerants such as R290, R600, propane, isobutane, CO2, and ammonia. Sustainability and enduring solutions take precedence, with a dedicated focus on food safety and energy efficiency. As industry participants collaborate to set efficiency standards, we can expect new legislation and star labelling to be implemented in the refrigeration business. The labelling program will increase the use of variable speed applications, we foresee a conversion of 50% from fixed speed to variable speed in all key refrigeration applications in the next 3-4 years”.
Emphasizing on the significant collaboration between ISHARE & NCCD, Asheesh Fotedar, COO, NCCD (National Centre for Cold-chain Development) said “The collaboration of the organizations is to develop sustainable and energy-efficient standards for the cold chain industry in India. This path-breaking initiative aims to bring uniformity to the sector and drive it towards sustainability and technology adoption.”
Yogesh Mudras said, “Refcold India provides a transformative journey that unlocks opportunities for fresh horizons and valuable collaborations. The expo offers a plethora of opportunities to connect with industry experts and learn about cutting-edge technologies. Furthermore, the government is also taking proactive steps to boost the refrigeration and cold chain industry by establishing extensive cold storage facilities nationwide. This initiative aims to minimize food wastage, encouraging eco-friendly refrigeration practices, while simultaneously stimulating economic growth. Advancements in refrigeration technology have led to energy-efficient systems, particularly beneficial in high-energy industries like chemical manufacturing. These optimized systems and eco-friendly refrigerants not only lower carbon footprints but also reduce emissions and water waste compared to traditional cooling methods like cooling water towers. Additionally, in India, where agricultural production is vast, but access is limited, the cold chain sector plays a vital role, further driven by the growth of organized food delivery and e-commerce segments.”
With the support of MOFPI (Ministry of Food Processing Industries Government of India), other esteemed associations like IIR (International Institute of Refrigeration), NCCD (National Centre for Cold-chain Development), IDA (Indian Dairy Association), IIAR (International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration) and more, the event successfully bridged the gap between suppliers and buyers.