UK: 2024 Cold Chain Climate Summit 

The UK can lead the world in moving smoothly and safely from a frozen food temperature set point of -18oC to -15oC, which will secure massive reductions in the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of the UK food supply chain, affirmed the Cold Chain Federation at the Cold Chain Climate Summit 2024 (13th March).

The opportunities and challenges of increasing the temperature set point of frozen food were discussed comprehensively during the Summit.

Georgios Tetradis-Mairis (Head of R&D Futures, Nomad Foods) shared new research findings that moving from -18oC to -15oC would not compromise food safety or quality and could deliver a 10% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Cold Chain Federation Chief Executive Phil Pluck said: “Moving from a -18C to a -15C temperature set-point for frozen food across the board would make hugely significant energy and GHG savings, to the great benefit of consumers, businesses and our warming planet. The -18C set-point has not been challenged or changed in a century but the technology, equipment and processes of today’s temperature-controlled logistics mean that it is certainly time for its revision.

“This concept has been building in the global food supply chain conversation over the past year, not least at COP28, and we believe the CCF can help drive this change forwards within the UK. Our geography and Net Zero targets combined with the UK cold chain’s commitment to energy efficiency and strong relationships throughout the food supply chain, puts the UK in a unique position to move this concept from an exciting ambition to normal working practice.

“Our Climate Summit yesterday clearly showed that the UK cold chain is up for the challenge. The Cold Chain Federation has embarked on a new programme of work to bring together the UK’s temperature-controlled logistics operators with manufacturers, retailers and regulators and to facilitate the path forward for our members.”

The Cold Chain Federation has published a new Net Zero Project report ‘Increasing Temperature Set Points for Frozen Food to Cut Emissions Across the UK Cold Chain’ to provide an overview of the opportunities and next steps, and has launched a new survey to ensure every CCF member can contribute to the discussion on the important issue. The federation continues to work closely with food industry businesses and organisations worldwide as part of the global ‘Join the Move to -15C’ initiative.

The Cold Chain Climate Summit (in association with The P&M Group, Olympus Power and Alt-Solar) saw more than 200 delegates gather on 13thMarch 2024 to examine the impacts of climate change on global food systems, how temperature-controlled logistics operators will need to adapt to operating in a different climate, and the opportunities and challenges related to a possible change from a -18C to -15C set-point for storing and transporting frozen food. The keynote speakers who brought their specialist knowledge to the Summit included Georgios Tetradis-Mairis (Head of R&D Futures, Nomad Foods); Dr Chloe Brimicombe (Climate Scientist at the University of Graz, Austria); and Dr Tim Fox (Independent Consultant in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation).