GVR Report cover Cold Chain Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Cold Chain Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Storage, Monitoring Components), By Equipment (Storage, Transportation), By Application (Fish, Meat & Seafood), By Packaging, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-1-68038-760-5
  • Number of Pages: 300
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Range: 2019 - 2019
  • Industry: Technology

Report Overview

The global cold chain market size was valued at USD 210.49 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.8% from 2021 to 2028. The growing penetration of connected devices and automation of refrigerated warehouses across the globe is anticipated to spur the industry growth over 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 of perishable foods in a manner that is free of import duties.

North America cold chain market size, by packaging product, 2017 - 2028 (USD Billion)

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.

Type Insights

In terms of revenue, the storage segment accounted for the largest revenue share of more than 58% in 2020 and will retain the dominance over the forecast period owing to increasing preference for packaged foods across the globe. Changing dietary patterns and lifestyles of consumers is 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 the technological advancements and 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.

Packaging Insights

The product packaging segment held the largest revenue share of over 73% in 2020. 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, re-usable systems, packaging costs, and the trade-off between custom packaging solutions and off-the-shelf solutions.

Equipment Insights

The storage equipment segment accounted for the largest revenue share of over 75% of the global market in 2020. 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 food supply in these countries by nearly 15% or about 250 million tons.

Increasing efforts taken by the 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 March 2018, the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership’s (LEAP) competition to develop energy-efficient cold storage facility encouraged the adoption of off-grid solar energy-based storage equipment. This facility is aimed at meeting storage requirements for dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Application Insights

The fish, meat, and seafood segment led the global market accounting for the highest revenue share of 24% in 2020, and will retain the leading position growing at a steady CAGR from 2021 to 2028. 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.

Global cold chain market share, by application, 2020 (%)

Improvements in food packaging materials have become essential owing to the growing trade over the past few years. As per the FAO of the United Nations, 20 to 40% of the total production of fruits and vegetables is wasted due to accidents that occurred during storage, processing, and transportation. Thus, the material used for packaging food items plays a major role in enhancing their storage life.

Changing food habits and increasing levels of disposable income are triggering the product demand from the bakery and confectionary segment. Shippers are collaborating with third-party logistics to cater to the rising demand and to ensure that products are delivered in optimal conditions on a proper schedule.

Regional Insights

North America held the largest revenue share of more than 35% in 2020 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 the major contributor to the APAC regional market. The market growth in China is attributed to factors, such as technological advancements in 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.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

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.)

  • Creopack (Canada)

  • Cold Box Express, Inc. (U.S.)

Cold Chain Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 238.4 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 628.3 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 14.8% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD billion and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Type, packaging, equipment, application, region

Regional scope

North America; Asia Pacific; Europe; South America; Middle East; Africa

Country scope

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

Agro Merchant Group; Nordic Logistics and Warehousing, LLC; Preferred Freezer Services, LLC; Cold Chain Technologies, Inc.; Cryopack Industries, Inc.; Creopack; Cold Box Express, Inc.

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at the global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global cold chain market report on the basis of type, packaging, equipment, application, and region:

  • Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Storage

      • Warehouses

        • On-grid

        • Off-grid

      • Reefer Containers

    • Transportation

      • Road

      • Sea

      • Rail

      • Air

    • Monitoring Components

      • Hardware

        • Sensors

        • RFID Devices

        • Telematics

        • Networking Devices

      • Software

        • On-premise

        • Cloud-based

  • Packaging Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Product

      • Crates

        • Dairy

        • Pharmaceuticals

        • Fishery

        • Horticulture

      • Insulated Containers & Boxes

        • Payload Size

          • 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)

        • Type

          • Cold Chain Bags/Vaccine Bags

          • Corrugated Boxes

          • Others

      • Cold Packs

      • Labels

      • Temperature-controlled Pallet Shippers

    • Materials

      • Insulating Materials

        • EPS

        • PUR

        • VIP

        • Cryogenic Tanks

        • Others (Insulating Pouches, Hard Cased Thermal Boxes, and Active Thermal Systems)

      • Refrigerants

        • Fluorocarbons

          • Inorganics

          • Ammonia

        • CO2

        • Hydrocarbons

  • Equipment Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Storage Equipment

      • On-grid

        • Walk-in Coolers

        • Walk-in Freezers

        • Ice-lined Refrigerators

        • Deep Freezers

      • Off-grid

        • Solar Chillers

        • Milk Coolers

        • Solar-powered Cold Boxes

        • Others (Solar Refrigerators and Products related to Solar Panels)

    • Transportation Equipment

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Fruits & Vegetables

    • Fruit Pulp & Concentrates

    • Dairy Products

      • Milk

      • Butter

      • Cheese

      • Ice cream

    • Fish, Meat, and Seafood

    • Processed Food

    • Pharmaceuticals

      • Vaccines

      • Blood Banking

    • Bakery & Confectionary

    • Others (Ready-to-Cook, Poultry)

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)
    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

      • Singapore

      • South Korea

    • Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

    • South America

      • Brazil

    • Middle East

      • UAE

      • Saudi Arabia

      • Israel

    • Africa

      • South Africa

      • Nigeria

      • Egypt

      • Kenya

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