Rebuilding the Cold Chain

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Rebuilding the Cold Chain

Climate change could result in new regulations that limit how the cold chain works.

Key Insight

Cold chains are temperature-controlled supply chains. We rely on them to deliver everything that requires low temperatures, such as medications, produce, and frozen foods.

Why It Matters

Climate change could result in new regulations that limit how the cold chain works, but new kinds of intelligent packaging and automated transportation systems mean new business opportunities.


For decades we’ve had access to fresh blueberries in February and fresh-squeezed orange juice throughout the year. Your local grocery store probably sells sushi featuring raw tuna and salmon farmed halfway around the world. The reason we can enjoy ice cream in the heat of the summer is the cold chain: a complicated system of storing and transporting food and medicine in exactly the right temperature range during the trek from farm, to factory, to the store. But in some areas of the world, the cold chain has contributed to climate change.

What’s Next

If the temperature fluctuates or the cold storage fails, that puts a cold chain’s cargo in jeopardy. Products could be contaminated or spoiled, which could mean millions of dollars lost. Companies are beginning to look at new sustainability opportunities to improve the cold chain. One area of interest is artificial intelligence in the cloud, which can help monitor temperatures and can also optimize travel routes. New packaging materials insulate food and medicine, keeping both at low temperatures without having to refrigerate entire trucks.

The Impact

We put an enormous amount of trust in the cold chain to protect the food and medicines we ingest. In a rapidly changing world with ongoing climate, economic and geopolitical uncertainty, companies that use or rely on the cold chain should be invested in long-term planning.


AGRO Merchants Group, Americold, Cold Storage, Emergent Cold, Gardner Denver Holdings, Ingersoll-Rand, Kloosterboer, NewCold, Nichirei, Preferred Freezer Services, Versa Cold.