Cold Storage requirement in India:

Preservation of food by proper storage assumes greater importance in a country like India, where there is a substantial production of a variety of perishable foods like fruits and vegetables, milk products, fish, poultry and meat products. Among the various methods of preserving food products, Refrigeration is the most important one. Cold storage conditions are different for product to product, but certain basic facts are true for all the commodities (fruits, vegetables and other products). In the case of fruits and vegetables particularly, the problems faced in storage and handling are, Desiccation or loss of moisture. Physical break down of tissue, Chemical changes (oxidation) of certain matter in the product, hydrolysis of fats and esters, as well as changes in food proteins.

During storage, product undergoes metabolism, in which living cells takes oxygen and give up the carbon dioxide (along with the enzyme actions). In addition to above during storage, bacterial, yeast and mould growth within / on the product also observed. Such growth is very rapid at room temperatures and decreasing as the temperature is lowered. It is almost ceasing as the temperature drops to about -10°C to -12°C. Hence, the country like India where normal temperature ranges between 25°C - 45°C, the need for cold storages becomes a vital and important requirement as well as processes related to storage is also a key area of concern.

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION:

Based on the Utility and Control Parameter “COLD STORAGE” are classified in to following three types:

  • NORMAL / MULTI COMMODITY COLD STORAGE
  • FROZEN COLD STORAGE
  • CA (Control Atmosphere) / ULO (Ultra Low Oxygen) COLD STORAGE

NORMAL / MULTI COMMODITY COLD STORAGE:

This storage is mainly used for the purpose of simple storage requirements, of Agricultural Products (Like: Potato, Cereals, Pulses, Spices) and other products (Like: Jaggery, Sweets etc.).

In this type of storage, the products do not have / require to any kind of variations in the atmospheric conditions during storage period. The commodities can be stored or removed from the storage at any point of time.

This type of cold storage only helps in keeping the commodities in a cooled atmosphere to protect from heat and sunlight so that the commodities do not ripen faster or immediately as in normal conditions.

Pros:
  • Multiple commodity with large storage capacity in single area.
  • Initial investment cost is lower (compare to other types).
  • Running cost is lower (compare to other types).

 

Cons:
  • Limited Storage duration (compare to other types)
  • High degree of wastage / spillage.
  • Limited ROI.

FROZEN COLD STORAGE:

This type of a Cold Storage is mainly used for freezing products or for creating any products in to frozen state for further transit where the condition of the product should not be vary by any kind of external temperatures or storage conditions.

The temperature in this storage varies from, -20°C to -25°C, and the storage period can be varied from 2 to 24 months.

It has three types of internal freezing methods namely, IQF (Instant Quick Freezing), Plate Freezing and Blast Freezing. The type of freezing application depends on the commodity which requires to be frozen.

Pros:
  • Multiple commodity with bigger storage capacity in single area.
  • Very low degree of wastage / spillage (compare to other types).
  • Good ROI.

 

Cons:
  • Limited Product Storage portfolio (compare to other types)
  • Initial investment cost is relatively high (compare to other types)
  • Running cost is High (compare to other types).

CA (Control Atmosphere) / ULO (Ultra Low Oxygen) COLD STORAGE:

Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage is an advance type of storage system, where oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are controlled in the chambers as per requirements of different products. Ultra-low Oxygen (ULO) storage is a next level of storage advantage by lowering of oxygen level in the CA system.

This type of a Cold Storage provides facilities like temp. Rh. and gases control mainly by reduction of oxygen levels to less than 0.5%, it can be achieved by the use of gas tight doors and good sealant techniques to cover the minor gaps between the joints, floorings and walls.

The temperature maintained in this cold storage ranges between -1°C to +5°C and along with controlled atmosphere contents like levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The usual storage period for products in this cold storage is between 5 to 8 months. The capacity of this cold storage ranges between 50 MT (Metric Tons) to 250 MT (Metric Tons).

Pros:
  • High value commodity with specified duration.
  • Low degree of wastage / spillage (compare to other types).
  • Good ROI.

 

Cons:
  • Limited product storage capacity / small chambers.
  • Initial investment cost is very high (compare to other types)
  • Running cost is high (compare to other types).

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