The current pandemic might have caught the nation all off-guard and resulted in a lockdown, but it has also been resulting in people making conscious and healthy choices while buying daily essentials for their consumption, giving rise to the frozen food sector.
According to the latest report by IMARC, the frozen food industry in India is spreading its wings by the passing day and expected to expand at a CAGR of around 17% during 2019-2024.
Even after the slump faced by the nation economically, the frozen food sector has been seeing an upward spiral, growing by the passing day as people grow health conscious. With the increased business and frozen food consumption amongst people, it’s only wise for the trade associations of packaged food to come together to acknowledge people’s preferences and cater to them accordingly. “Frozen food is safe and healthy for one to consume as it has a longer shelf life, ranging between 3-18 months, depending on the product,” shared Manjunath MS, Consultant, Cold-chain Consulting by adding that the food security of poultry products is essential due to seasonal imbalance that can deteriorate the quality of the product, thus making it imperative for us to choose apt techniques to process, store and supply frozen meat. “It is necessary for us to maintain its nutritive values and freshness and hence adopting appropriate food storage techniques. Also, along with taking care of its cold chain supply, it is highly recommended to thaw the frozen food rightly before consumption, irrespective of the season,” he added.
Also, there is lots of focus on how the traders around us are taking appropriate measures and maintaining high hygiene and quality standards. The industry leaders are not only storing the frozen meat rightly but also transporting it via the cold supply chain after screening and passing various tests.
The experts also shared about frozen food preservation techniques and how the nutritive quotient is maintained without being affected by the external factors due to a controlled temperature and environment. Discussing the refrigeration systems and other methods such as thermal insulation, the experts were observed elaborating on different techniques to maintain the desired temperature until the meat was delivered to the patrons’ doorstep and how people could thaw it in an appropriate manner for best consumption.
“Efficient transportation of frozen meat and its refrigeration is bound to maintain its freshness and keep it safe from any sorts of contamination. Smaller trucks and vans used for last-mile delivery of frozen meat (which is to be distributed at the retail stores) have an insulation box to maintain the cooling temperature of the contents inside. The measures including monitoring the right techniques to load the frozen food, parking the truck/van in share, to pre-cooling the refrigerated container at the desired set point and loading the units from a properly refrigerated loading bay further help in reducing the loading time along with keeping the units in a good condition,” said Harshal Surange, Chief Consultant, ACR Project Consultants.
Earlier, the high costs of processed food items posed a major challenge for the sector to grow. However, with the rise in health-conscious and self-aware people in society, has entirely transformed the face of the industry. People have started preferring quality over higher costs and the traders are also taking utmost care of the involved processes and monitoring of the frozen food to the best of their capabilities.
Indian Frozen food market is expected to be growing at 17% between 2019-2024 as per CAGR. While the sector sees potential for growth, supply chain measures if maintained well will see an exponential rise by having the right contingency plan, best loading practices, trained and qualified professionals and transport management software. The temperature-sensitive products are transported cautiously as the supply chain uses different packaging and shipment measures to maintain their freshness and prevent them from losing their nutritional values.
The cold chain supply in India was at a nascent stage until now, however, with the change in consumer buying patterns and health choices, it is growing well by the passing day. Encouraging healthy food, the industry is yet to upend. The enhanced processes and high standards of trade will eventually contribute to the growth of the country, making India be competitive internationally and looking forward to becoming a healthier, successful nation.