The ever-growing population has increased the need for food processing climate. The cold storage and cold chain transportation to control post-harvest losses and save perishable foods have been on the rise. Cold storage involves the placement of perishable food articles, likely to be affected in hot and moist environments, in proper temperature and humidity controlled conditions.
Cold chains are often used at an average temperature range of 2°C to 8 °C in food industry, but the specific temperature and tolerances used will depend on the items being shipped and stored. India has around 6,300 cold storage facilities across the country, with an installed capacity of 30.11 million metric tons.
Given below are some of the benefits of a cold storage facility:
Increase in shelf life: The annual cost of food wastage around the word is $2.6 trillion. A lot of food is wasted due to lack of proper storage facilities. Cold storage in the food industry is beneficial as it eliminates physical deterioration of food along with warding off the effects of any micro-organisms that cause shriveling, wilting, and darkening. The quality of the perishable foods like vegetables, fruits and meat can be preserved in a cold storage.
Encourages economic growth: India depends heavily on agriculture, and is the 2nd largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, but lack of adequate cold storage facilities and refrigerated transport results in huge supply chain losses, as high as Rs. 133 billion worth of agricultural produce. The cold storage facilities will enable us to export a variety of food products by retaining their quality and shelf life.
Improves health: Cold chain systems retain the vital vitamins and nutrients in the foods. Many people around the world do not have access to healthy food or no food at all. Cold storage preserved foods can benefit a lot of people around the world. If executed properly, perishable foods travel thousands of miles with quality intact.
Benefits for farmers: Gujarat, belonging to the top 10 horticulture producing states in India, loses almost Rs. 11,400 crore worth of fruits and vegetables after harvest every year due to lack of proper storage facilities. Bulk crops and vegetables can be preserved in cold storage over a long period of time thereby providing the farmer a chance to cultivate other crops. The farmers are able to receive only 1/4th to 1/3rd of the final retail prices. During low seasons, the farmers can take advantage of the cold storage facilities and influence the daily market prices to their benefit.
Published on: September 18, 2017