The global cold chain market size was valued at USD 241.97 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1% from 2022 to 2030. The growing penetration of connected devices and automation of refrigerated warehouses across the globe is anticipated to spur industry growth in the forecast period. An increasing number of organized retail stores in emerging economies are leading to increased demand for cold chain solutions. Moreover, trade liberalization, government efforts to reduce food waste, and expansion of retail chains by multinational companies are expected to boost industry growth over the forecast period. The World Trade Organization (WTO) and bilateral free trade agreements, such as the European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have created opportunities for exporters in the U.S. and Europe to increase trade for perishable foods in a manner that is free of import duties.
In developing economies, the refrigerated storage market is driven by a shift from carbohydrate-rich diets to protein-rich foods, owing to rising consumer awareness. Countries, such as China, are expected to portray a significant growth rate over the coming years due to a consumer-led transition in the economy. With growing technological advancements in warehouse management and refrigerated transportation, the market is likely to expand in developing economies.
Furthermore, growing government subsidies have enabled service providers to tap these emerging markets with innovative solutions to overcome complex transportation. Cold chain services are designed to provide ideal transportation and storage conditions for temperature-sensitive products. Increasing demand for perishable products and fast delivery requirements associated with the e-commerce-based food and beverages delivery market has created a significant boost in cold chain operations.
This is a stark shift from the earlier trend of consumers buying processed foods that had a longer shelf life. The rising trend of purchasing perishable products online has led to new opportunities and challenges. These include the need for innovative solutions to provide last-mile delivery, automated warehouses to manage inventories and reduce per-item costs, and low-cost and advanced temperature monitoring devices to maintain the safety of fresh food products.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China became a severe issue worldwide in a brief time. The coronavirus's epicenter was shifted from China to Europe and then to the U.S., making the country the worst-hit country globally. COVID-19 led to lockdowns and travel restrictions in many parts of the world, impacting various businesses' supply chains. The Global Cold Chain market has been affected to a significant extent due to the effects of COVID-19. From the supply side, the production of pharmaceutical drugs and supply of raw materials for vaccines’ clinical trials was rapidly rising, attributed to the significant increase in the total number of active cases worldwide in Q2 and Q3 of 2020. Initially, the strict lockdown and social distancing regulations imposed by the local and federal governments disrupted the overall supply chain logistics industry and also forced the shutdown of several manufacturing facilities temporarily. However, the supply of essential products such as food & beverage items, pharma products, and others was allowed by mandating strict compliance to norms like social distancing. Besides, stringent norms for supply chain logistics had raised the overall logistics costs in the region. With the growing number of active cases, several key pharmaceutical players such as Pfizer-BioNTech, ModernaTX, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson actively invested in developing the COVID-19 vaccines for the global market.
The key strategies undertaken comprise ramping up the production of the COVID-19 vaccines and keeping transparency in the vaccine distribution process. Building a resilient supply chain for vaccine-related raw materials is expected to boost the overall cold chain logistics market growth from 2022 to 2030. Another major trend witnessed after the onset of the pandemic was a significant rise in the number of e-commerce purchases, including the purchase of perishable products that include products such as dairy, fruits & vegetables, meat, and pork, among others. These products are required to be kept in cold storage warehouses and distributed with thermally insulated packaging through refrigerated vehicles. The rising popularity of prepackaged food and beverage items bodes well for the expansion of cold chain services across the food industry. Processed food manufacturers are focusing not only on their products but also the storage to extend their products’ shelf life, which, in turn, drives the cold chain market. These trends highlight the need for the food value chain to transition away from public marketplaces and toward a cold-chain system that maintains perishable goods for extended durations.
In terms of revenue, the storage segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 58% in 2021 and is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period owing to increasing preference and demand for packaged food worldwide. Changing dietary patterns and lifestyles of consumers are driving the demand for frozen foods. This is expected to boost the demand for storage solutions.
Cold chain systems are crucial for supplying food, beverages, and healthcare products. Demand for high-cube refrigerated trailers, connected refrigerated trucks, insulated containers, and vehicles favoring cross-product transportation is expected to drive the transportation segment over the forecast period.
The use of monitoring components in the cold chain is particularly increasing. This growth can be attributed to technological advancements and the growing need to ensure the integrity, efficiency, and safety of shipments. Advances are equally noticeable in backend IT infrastructure and frontend devices deployed for collecting and reporting real-time shipment information.
Efficient management of cold storage greatly depends on software and hardware components used for monitoring purposes. Hardware components include data loggers, remote temperature sensors, RFID devices, networking devices, and telematics devices. The stringent regulatory environment in the pharmaceutical industry surrounding the maintenance of product quality has positively influenced the adoption of cold chain temperature monitoring solutions.
The product packaging segment held the largest revenue share of over 73% in 2021. The product segment includes a detailed analysis of crates, insulated containers and boxes, cold packs, labels, and temperature-controlled pallet shippers. The materials segment includes an in-depth analysis of insulating materials and refrigerants. The insulating materials and refrigerants are considered complete systems for temperature-sensitive products. The insulating materials segment is further classified into Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Vacuum Insulated Panel (VIP), Polyurethane (PUR), cryogenic tanks, and others.
Temperature-controlled Packaging (TCP) is a majorly used element in the refrigerated storage market. TCP is developed in accordance with various standards to maintain the products at specific temperatures for a particular period. Active TCP systems include pallet shippers and refrigerated boxes that are operated through power sources, such as a lithium battery. On the other hand, passive systems are cost-effective and practical as they rely on insulated packaging along with refrigerants. At present, Styrofoam and water-based Phase Change Material (PCMs) are preferred by most pharmaceutical companies.
Demand for PUR is declining, as the material happens to be heavier than Styrofoam and is also not recyclable. Temperature-sensitive materials used for shipments of non-bulk packaging include PUR foam, EPS foam, cryogenic tanks, insulated pallet shippers, and VIPs. Three types of commonly used refrigerants are dry ice, gel packs, and PCM. Key factors to be considered while evaluating temperature-sensitive packaging solutions include system cost, thermal performance, pack-out simplicity, and physical performance. The variable that determines system cost comprises payload maximization, reusable systems, packaging costs, and the trade-off between custom packaging solutions and off-the-shelf solutions.
The storage equipment segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 75% of the global market in 2021. Storage equipment is crucial in the refrigerated storage industry as they ensure the quality of products and increase their shelf life. The equipment used includes refrigerators, deep freezers, vaccine carriers, and others. Storage equipment is further divided into on-grid and off-grid.
The demand for off-grid storage equipment is attributed to the increasing need to prevent food losses post-harvesting and processing in developing countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), more than 40% of food losses occur during post-harvesting and processing, especially in developing countries. This creates the need to establish sustainable and energy-efficient cold chains that can increase the food supply in these countries by nearly 15% or about 250 million tons.
Increasing efforts taken by governments in developing countries to promote off-grid cold chains are expected to stimulate the demand for off-grid solar energy-based storage equipment. For instance, in April 2020, the university of Birmingham, U.K. collaborated with Telangana state government in India to establish an effective cold chain using sustainable and energy-efficient technologies. A team from the U.K. has been deployed to develop and design a feasibility study for a localizable Post-Harvest Management (PHM) model and Logistics Hub. With this collaboration, the cold-chain industry in India will benefit immensely from the exchange of technological know-how.
The fish, meat, and seafood segment led the global market accounting for the highest revenue share of 24% in 2021. Technological developments in the processing, packaging, and storage of seafood are anticipated to stimulate the growth of this segment. Moreover, a rise in fish production is expected to boost segment growth. However, processed food is projected to be the fastest-growing application segment over the forecast years owing to continued innovations in packaging materials. Advancements in packaging materials increase the shelf life of foods. This has increased the trading of processed foods over the past few years.
High product demand in the pharmaceuticals segment can be attributed to its importance in maintaining the efficacy and safety of pharmaceuticals. The cold chain in the pharmaceutical industry is driven by stringent regulatory norms, such as Goods Distribution Practices (GDP) in the European Union (EU). These regulations are a shift witnessed in governments across the world toward standardizing regulations globally for better transportation systems for healthcare-related products.
North America held the largest revenue share of more than 35% in 2021 and will retain the dominant position throughout the forecast period as the region has significant growth opportunities for the companies planning to invest for a long haul. Increasing penetration of connected devices and a large consumer base are also expected to fuel market growth over the forecast period. However, Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the fastest-growing regional market over the projected period owing to increasing government investments for logistics infrastructure development and penetration of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).
China is a major contributor to the APAC regional market. The market growth in China is attributed to factors, such as technological advancements in the packaging, processing, and storage of seafood products. Rising demand and growing cold chain infrastructure development have made China a top market for cold chains. Currently, China is undergoing a rapid transition from a construction- & manufacturing-led economy to a consumer-led economy. Rising innovations in the pharmaceutical sector in China are also expected to boost the demand for cold chain solutions. Another major factor driving the market includes the rapid expansion of biopharma in the region.
Major service providers in the market are constantly upgrading their technologies to stay ahead of the competition and to ensure efficiency, integrity, and safety. Vendors have adopted Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and RFID technologies to improve efficiency with a decreased size of shipments. In addition, they are increasing their multi-compartment refrigerated vehicle fleets to provide additional services to customers. Some of the key companies in the global cold chain market are:
Agro Merchant Group (U.S.)
Nordic Logistics and Warehousing, LLC (U.S.)
Preferred Freezer Services, LLC (U.S.)
Cold Chain Technologies, Inc. (U.S.)
Cryopack Industries, Inc. (U.S.)
Cold Box Express, Inc. (U.S.)
Market size value in 2022
USD 279.01 billion
Revenue forecast in 2030
USD 986.91 billion
CAGR of 17.1% from 2022 to 2030
Base year for estimation
2022 - 2030
Revenue in USD Billion and CAGR from 2022 to 2030
Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
Type, Packaging, Equipment, Application, and Region
North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, Middle East, Africa
U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, U.K., France, Spain, Italy, China, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya
Key companies profiled
Americold Logistics LLC, Agro Merchant Group, Burris Logistics, Inc., Henningsen Cold Storage Company, Lineage Logistics, LLC, Nordic Logistics, Preferred Freezer, Wabash National, Cold Chain Technologies, Inc., Cryopak Industries Inc., Creopack, Cold Box Express, Inc., Intelsius, Nilkamal Limited, Sofrigam, Softbox Systems Ltd., Sonoco ThermoSafe, Valor Industries, va Q tec AG
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This report forecasts revenue growths at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2030. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global cold chain market based on type, packaging, equipment, application, and region.
Cold Chain Market Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2017 - 2030)
Cold Chain Market Packaging Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2017 - 2030)
Insulated Containers & Boxes
Large (32 to 66 liters)
Medium (21 to 29 liters)
Small (10 to 17 liters)
X-small (3 to 8 liters)
Petite (0.9 to 2.7 liters)
Cold Chain Bags/Vaccine Bags
Temperature-controlled Pallet Shippers
Others (Insulating Pouches, Hard Cased Thermal Boxes, and Active Thermal Systems)
Cold Chain Market Equipment Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2017 - 2030)
Solar-powered Cold Boxes
Others (Solar Refrigerators and Products related to Solar Panels)
Cold Chain Market Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2017 - 2030)
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit Pulp & Concentrates
Fish, Meat, and Seafood
Bakery & Confectionary
Others (Ready-to-Cook, Poultry)
Cold Chain Market Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2017 - 2030)
b. The global cold chain market size was estimated at USD 241.97 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 279.01 billion in 2022.
b. The global cold chain market is expected to progress at a compound annual growth rate of 17.1% from 2022 to 2030 to reach USD 986.91 billion by 2030.
b. The storage segment accounted for the largest revenue share of more than 57.9% in 2021 in the cold chain market and will maintain its dominance over the forecast period owing to an increasing preference for packaged foods globally.
b. The product packaging segment held the largest revenue share of over 73.0% in 2021 in the cold chain market. The product segment includes a detailed analysis of crates, insulated containers and boxes, cold packs, labels, and temperature-controlled pallet shippers.
b. The storage equipment segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 75.3% of the global cold chain market in 2021. Storage equipment is crucial in the refrigerated storage industry as they ensure the quality of products and increase their shelf life.
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