How to Choose the Right Cold Storage Solution for Your Retail Business

How to Choose the Right Cold Storage Solution for Your Retail Business


March 20, 2023


In the Indian retail sector, food and grocery constitute the largest segment, accounting for 66% of the country’s total retail spend. As this retail segment continues to grow and supply chains become more complex, businesses have to adapt to the changing demands of consumers for fresh and safe food products. Moreover, with an increase in demand for online grocery sales, cold storage solutions have become a mainstay of the cold chain infrastructure.

Here, choosing the right cold storage solution has become a game changer, addressing the major concerns of food safety, market gluts, and price fluctuations. So, let’s discover more about cold storage facilities in retail businesses! 

Why Is Cold Storage Important for Retailers and Supermarkets

It is important for retailers to lower storage and distribution costs while maintaining customer satisfaction. They also need to ensure that the quality of food products is retained and the delivery is on time. All these factors can have a direct impact on the reputation and brand of your retail business. This is where the right cold storage solution can make a difference.

Here are some of the benefits of cold storage.

Less wastage 

When perishable or frozen food items are not stored under appropriate conditions, they are prone to diseases, infection, dehydration, weight loss, and deterioration. Cold storage provides the right temperature and humidity levels, extending the shelf-life and maintaining the quality of the food products. 

Food safety 

Inappropriate storage conditions increase the risk of microorganisms including yeast, mold, bacteria, etc. Cold storage maintains the temperature at lower levels, thus, preventing the growth of microbes and keeping the food items safe.

Storage capacity 

Cold storage rooms offer flexibility in terms of capacity as well as temperature and humidity controls. This means that based on your requirement and product type, you can choose from different cold storage options. Plus, you can customise it to the level of selecting the type of refrigeration system, air circulation, racking system, modular construction, lighting, and much more.

More space

Especially, in the retail setting, perishable food items may take up a lot of space. Moreover, using a refrigeration system at a retail store is not a cost-effective and efficient long-term option. That is why cold storage is a viable, one-stop solution before products reach the end customers. 

Easy accessibility

Easy accessibility is also an added advantage. With the right racking or shelving solutions and pallet systems, you can make effective utilization of space.

Cost savings

Cold storage extends shelf-life, and maintains quality, texture, and flavor, ensuring retailers get the maximum ROI on the harvest. Moreover, choosing cold storage with eco-friendly, energy-efficient refrigeration systems can help you save money on energy bills and maintenance.

Understanding Food Safety Hazards and Regulations in Food Storage

Here are some of the guidelines that retailers may need to look into when it comes to cold storage. 

  • Avoid physical, biological, and chemical contaminants as well as cross-contamination to ensure food safety. Ensure different food items are not stocked near or on top of each other even with appropriate packaging in storage. 
  • Do not handle different products in succession to lower the risk of cross-contamination. 
  • Make sure the stock rotation procedure is in place with labels visible clearly. This helps reduce wastage as products with a shorter shelf-life are handled first. It is a must to follow first-in-first-out (FIFO) at all times. 
  • Ideally, avoid pallet stacking so that products receive proper cold air circulation. Ineffective stacking or tight packing can lead to longer cooling or freezing times which can increase the risk of microorganism growth. Always avoid double stacking
  • Check cold storage temperatures regularly to avoid any irregularities in temperature maintenance.
  • Wear gloves and follow adequate hand-washing procedures to avoid food hazards. 
  • Ensure cold storage units are sterilised and disinfected regularly. 
  • Non-food items should be stored separately.
  • Most importantly, cold storage should be of proper design, easy to clean and maintained in good condition.

Choosing the Right Cold Storage for Your Retail Business 

There are a variety of cold storage solutions available for retail business owners. Let’s discover more! 

  • Walk-in chillers and freezers

For supermarkets and retail stores, the focus remains on stock rotation, quality and safety of consumable products, as well as ease of accessibility. Walk-in chillers and freezers can be the perfect solution to meet these requirements for large volumes of frozen, pre-cooled, and fresh food products. Usually, walk-in coolers maintain temperature ranges of +2 to +8°C and walk-in freezers provide storage temperatures around -18 to -20°C. Usually, walk-in freezers and chillers are of three typesself-contained, remote condensing, and multiplex condensing depending on the placement of the refrigeration system. 

  • Step-in chillers and freezers

It is important in retail to be aware of your inventory as well as make sure your customers have access to safe and quality items. Modular step-in chillers and freezers, which are very easy to maintain and clean, can help solve your issues of cold storage. Some manufacturers also offer a display feature for easy accessibility. These chillers and freezers can be effectively used for dairy products, medicines, frozen produce and meat, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits. 

  • Modular cold rooms 

Modular cold rooms are usually built on-site with a high level of customisation and can meet small to medium cold storage requirements. These cold rooms offer affordable and energy-efficient refrigeration solutions that are designed to preserve large quantities of chilled or frozen products for prolonged shelf life, without any deterioration in quality. 

Modular cold rooms can be used to maintain temperatures around +4°C and -18°C depending on the type of food product.  

  • Display cum cold storage 

Retail industry usually requires medium temperature refrigeration for short shelf-life products that are highly temperature sensitive or freeze refrigeration for long-term storage. Cold rooms which are a combination of display and backend cold room can help store food items, vegetables, medicines, seeds, flowers, milk and dairy products for easy accessibility for customers. They are ideal for low intensity cooling needs, i.e. for temperatures around +2°C to +8°C. 

Here are some other factors that you may consider when making a choice.

  • Identify the purpose of the cold storage as it will help you finalise the technical specifications and the temperature range of the cold room. Usually, the temperature in cold storage may vary from +20℃  to –15℃  and relative humidity may vary from 90% to 98%. 
  • Consider if the chosen cold room is low-maintennce, easy-to-clean, and durable.
  • Check for the type of refrigeration system used including compressor and evaporator. The choice of refrigerant as well as the energy-efficiency of your compressor can have a direct impact on your energy bills and cost savings. 
  • Look for additional features or accessories being provided by the manufacturer. For instance, alarm systems, safety valves, electronic controls, temperature regulation and recording, lighting, insulation for doors, etc. 
  • Check the construction material used to ensure it is food-safe, eco-friendly, and fire-rated. The choice of material will also affect the insulation capabilities of your cold storage solution. 

Final Words 

Retail food and grocery business in India is expected to grow exponentially. This warrants the need for effective cold storage solutions that ensure long-term preservation without deterioration in freshness and quality. Choosing the right cold room based on your needs can help you improve efficiency, Utilise space, and save cost!

Rinac, a leader in cold storage solutions and processes, offers a series of modular, custom solutions that fulfil the cold storage needs of supermarkets and retail stores. Don’t forget to  explore our world-class modular cold roomsLiteCold, display cum cold roomsSapphire, step-in/walk-in chillers and freezers-Preserva-P, N, C, and Preserva Combi

To know more, get in touch with us today!

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