World Refrigeration Day 2023: Adversity Has Increased Resilience of UK Cold Chain

To mark World Refrigeration Day 2023 on 26th June, the Cold Chain Federation (CCF) has revealed new survey results showing that 74% of UK cold chain operators consider that the cold chain has emerged from supply chain challenges such as Covid-19 disruption and the energy crisis, more resilient than it was before.

Similarly, when asked specifically about the long-term impacts of Covid, most of the survey respondents said the UK cold chain is now more resilient to future disruption, that there is greater public awareness of the cold chain, and that there are stronger relationships between customers and suppliers to manage risk. However, most of the survey respondents also said that another long-term impact of Covid is an exacerbation of workforce challenges such as recruitment and retention.

Cold Chain Federation Executive Director Tom Southall said: “Cold chain operators have faced crisis after crisis over the past five years, not least the repeated uncertainty and disruption of post-Brexit customs changes, the impacts of Covid restrictions and sky-rocketing energy costs. Throughout all this adversity, the industry has pulled together and found new ways to carry on providing the crucial temperature-controlled storage and distribution services which are so relied on for the nation’s food and pharma supply chains. Our new survey results show that this period of adversity has had a lasting impact in making the cold chain even more resilient to disruption.

“It’s not all positive though, with many of the survey respondents also considering that Covid has had a long-term impact in exacerbating existing challenges with the recruitment and retention of people in our industry. Our people are at the heart of how the cold chain will grow and evolve to meet the nation’s changing needs, so investment in recruitment and skills development remains crucial. Operators’ investments will be at their most effective with the right engagement from Government, and the Cold Chain Federation will continue to advocate for this support.”

The Cold Chain Federation recently welcomed more than 150 CCF members to an event in the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the skilful and resilient work of people across the UK cold chain’s wide range of roles, to demonstrate the industry’s investment into future skills needs, and to discuss with Ministers and MPs how Government policies can support the industry to the benefit of communities, the economy and the environment.

World Refrigeration Day is an international awareness campaign established by the World Refrigeration Day Secretariat to raise the profile of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sector and focus attention on the role that the industry and its technology play in modern life and society. The Cold Chain Federation is pleased to be a supporter of the World Refrigeration Day 2023 campaign, ‘Next generation cooling – the future is in our hands’.

The new survey data will be published as part of the Federation’s ‘State of the Cold Chain Report 2023’ in late July.

The Cold Chain Federation will soon be holding a series of online events for its ‘Refrigeration Week’, exploring alternatives to F-Gas, managing refrigeration in hot weather, and the impacts of PFAs in refrigerants. Refrigeration Week starts on 17th July 2023, see for more information.