The MEA cold chain market is anticipated to reach USD 11.45 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. Improving the packaging of crops has become essential owing to the expansion of trade over the past few years. As such, the materials used for packaging play a significant role in enhancing the storage life.

Pre-cooling refers to the optimal storage temperature of crops to reduce the metabolic and microbiological changes. Moreover, proper storage extends the shelf-life of crops before they are consumed. Various cooling methods include forced air cooling, vacuum cooling, room cooling, package icing, and hydro cooling. Factors determining the selection of pre-cooling methods include convenience, economy, and utilization of the existing equipment.

Increasing usage of devices such as RFID readers and barcode scanners to streamline inventory and shipping management have enabled service providers to penetrate into the emerging markets. Healthy and innovative packaged foods along with organic products are gaining traction in the market. Additionally, the increasing focus on processing food locally rather than depending on the imports of processed food is also likely to positively impact the segment demand over the projected period. Food producers are laying their focus on importing raw ingredients and manufacturing finished products within the region.

However, the lack of access to adequate transportation infrastructure, confusing rules and regulations, coupled with legal and illegal fees throughout the business process in the African region are anticipated to restrain the market demand. Due to lack of transparency in government regulations, the investments made by cold chain providers across Africa are decreasing.

Further key findings from the report suggest:

The growing penetration of electronic data interchange is expected to drive the MEA regional market

The fruits and vegetables segment is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% over the forecast period

Refrigerated air is widely used as pre-cooling method for packed fruits

Understanding customer needs and focusing on research and development is expected to be the critical success factor

Saudi Arabia being the largest food producer in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is anticipated to witness a high growth rate over the forecast period

Food safety and control measures for the prevention of foodborne diseases continue to be the major areas of focus for food manufacturers

Key players in the market include RSA Logistics (Dubai), Wared Logistics (Saudi Arabia), Gulf Drug LLC (Dubai), and Brothers General Transport LLC (Dubai)