A consumer revolution is taking place in India as people change their eating habits and shopping patterns. While fresh foods have long been a staple, more people are putting a premium on speed and convenience. Supermarkets and shopping malls are cropping up everywhere, and sales of consumer-ready frozen foods are burgeoning, from ice cream and frozen entrees, to vegetables, fruits, sea foods and meats.
To meet this rising demand, manufactures and retailers of temperature sensitive products must move their perishable foods quickly, while emphasizing quality, safety, reliability, and traceability. This is a real challenge in a country where the cold-chain infrastructure still needs a lot of work to be done. India’s cold chain infrastructure is fragmented, under funded, and scrambling to keep up with soaring demand. The need of the hour is to address these concerns immediately.
The frozen food distribution is still not stabilized as most of the companies are still finding it difficult for service and are adopting the most rudimentary method of delivery of frozen/chilled foods to the trade. This, basically means that the integrity of the cold chain is being compromised. However, at this moment, the focus seems to be on survival and most of the companies are first interested in building volumes before they can provide high-class facilities for distribution of frozen/chilled products.
We at SNOWMAN, are now looking at expanding our network in terms of scale and reach if we are to compete at the domestic or international level. Our focus is to provide every requisite cold chain related solution to the customers but seeing the opportunity in F&V sector, definitely our focus would be more towards fruits and vegetables sector in the days to come along with new avenues like temperature controlled pharmaceutical products etc.
We are eagerly watching the prospects of large corporate like Reliance, Bharti, Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra & Mahindra , TATA and ITC etc to formulate and implement their retailing plan which will immensely benefit the cold chain industry. In my opinion, the cold chain industry will automatically grow as soon as the organized retail starts fully in place. All other difficulties will get resolved in due course of time. However basically what we need, is the consumer walking into a retail store and looking for chilled/frozen food products. This is the day when the cold chain industry will start moving forward and we have already seen the glimpse of it.