Analysis in The Cold Chain Report 2022 found that energy bills for the refrigerated or temperature-controlled sector would rise from £560.6m in 2021 to an estimated £1.1bn for 2022. It also found that the volume of UK cold storage capacity now topped 40m cubic metres, up 10% compared to last year. The CCF includes farmers and producers, frozen and chilled food and drink processors, retailers and foodservice operators, third party logistics and storage firms and pharmaceutical businesses in its definition of the cold chain.
CCF policy director Tom Southall said: “With energy prices rocketing, the cost of refrigerating cold storage facilities has soared too despite the great progress our industry has made over the past decade in improving energy efficiency and investing in renewables.”
“Cold chain businesses continue to focus on the buying and contract options for fuel, electric and other supplies, and on making sure contracts with customers are sharing the increases in the best and most realistic way possible,” Southall added.
The electricity cost analysis was carried out using energy usage from 460 cold stores in the Climate Change Agreement for Cold Stores using pricing information from the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy statistical dataset: Gas and electricity prices in the non-domestic sector.
Other key findings in the report include: the average size of UK refrigerated unit or cold store is now 95,693 m3; there are 25 sites in the UK with volume greater than 300,000 m3; and more than half of cold stores are over 20 years old.
Cold chain fleet
It also reveals that CCF members operate 21,184 rigid vehicles greater than 3.5 tonnes and tractor units, and 42,021 transport refrigeration units. Diesel cost at full duty rates has risen from £200.9m in June 2021 to £322.2m in June 2022
Southall continued: “The Cold Chain Report 2022 is the first ever report bringing together quantitative information on cold storage and temperature-controlled vehicles, and it marks a real milestone in the Cold Chain Federation’s commitment to research, gather and analyse data that serves and informs our industry.
“It has also enabled us to identify gaps in useful data and we will work with our members to create these datasets for subsequent iterations of the report.”