Frozen Food Coalition Aims to Increase Temperature of Frozen Foods to Slash Carbon Emissions: Study

A move to -15°C could make a significant environmental impact with no compromise on food safety or quality, the study found.

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Frozen food temperatures could be changed by just three degrees to save the carbon dioxide emissions of 3.8 million cars per year, according to research from DP World.

Most frozen food is transported and stored at -18°C, a standard that was set 93 years ago. A move to -15°C could make a significant environmental impact with no compromise on food safety or quality, the study found.

“Frozen food standards have not been updated in almost a century. They are long overdue for revision,” says Maha AlQattan, group chief sustainability officer at DP World. “A small temperature increase could have huge benefits but, however committed each individual organization is, the industry can only change what’s possible by working together. With this research and with our newly formed coalition, we aim to support collaboration across the industry to find viable ways to achieve the sector’s shared net zero ambition by 2050. The move to -15°C will bring the industry together to explore new, greener standards to help decarbonize the sector on a global scale. Through this research, we can see how we can deploy accessible storage technologies in all markets to freeze food at sustainable temperatures, while reducing food scarcity for vulnerable and developed communities.”


Key takeaways:

  • Experts from the International Institute of Refrigeration, the University of Birmingham and London South Bank University, among others, found that the small change could save 17.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent annual emissions of 3.8m cars annually.
  • This coalition aims to redefine frozen food temperature standards to cut greenhouse gases, lower supply chain costs and secure food resources for the world’s growing population. Other industry organizations include AJC Group, A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) of Denmark; Daikin of Japan; DP World; the Global Cold Chain Alliance; Kuehne + Nagel International; Lineage Logistics; Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) of Geneva; and Ocean Network Express (ONE).
  • Experts estimate that 12% of food produced annually is wasted due to a lack of refrigerated and frozen logistics, called the cold chain in the industry, highlighting a significant need for greater capacity.
  • Studies also suggest that 1.3 billion tons of edible food is thrown away every year – one-third of global food production for human consumption.