European Refrigerated Cabinet Market Races Ahead

The European food retail refrigerated cabinet market recorded a 7.2% increase in 2021, reaching a turnover of €1.6 billion. This increase came after a 6% drop due to the COVID crisis the year before.

From today’s perspective, the market will grow by 6.3% annually in value until 2024. One of the key factors making the food retail refrigerated cabinet market so dynamic is the demand for fast-moving consumer goods. Many of these products have a short shelf life and require cool storage. Due to the ever-increasing supermarket density in Eastern European countries, the demand for processed goods is therefore increasing and, as a consequence, the demand for refrigerated display cabinets.

Slow Switch to Environmentally Friendly Products

The general concern for the environment is leading to increasingly ecological solutions in all sectors of the economy. The refrigerated display case industry in the food segment is no exception. Synthetic solutions such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) can deplete the ozone and cause environmental damage. Therefore, many companies have decided to make the switch to natural refrigerants, such as ammonia or CO2. “In the next few years we are very likely to see an explosion of new sustainable options. CO2-based systems are very likely to play a major role in this in the future,” says Sasha Spiridonov, the author of the study. CO2 is not only sustainable, but also energy-efficient and non-combustible. Western European countries are already much further ahead than the CEE countries when it comes to the switch to more environmentally friendly CO2 cooling systems. In Germany, CO2-based cooling systems already constitutes 16% in volume. Overall, however, the share of hydrofluorocarbon systems is still far ahead at 75%. The somewhat sluggish shift towards environmentally friendly solutions can also be explained by the cost of the changeover, which usually goes hand in hand with a more complex cooling architecture, says Spiridonov.

Remote Continues To Gain Ground

Remote refrigeration units are subject to electronic control. They do not have their own cooling unit, but are connected to a central cooling unit on site. This form of cooling takes up the largest part of the market with a volume of 900 million euros and a growth of 7.8% last year. This means that the remote segment continued to gain market share. The remote segment is strongly dominated by wall refrigeration units, with a market share of 67%. Refrigerated counters come in at 20.5% and refrigerated islands at 12.5%. On the other hand, plug-in systems also achieved stable growth rates with an increase of 6.6% and reached a total volume of 755 million euros. Plug-in systems are ready-to-plug-in refrigeration units that do not require any further system components. They are refrigerated cabinets with an integrated refrigeration unit. They require less maintenance than centrally controlled units. However, remote cooling units are cheaper overall because a lot of energy is saved on cooling and the warm air that escapes can be reused. Furthermore, the cleaning of remote cooling units can be reduced to once or twice a year and the contamination factor is lower.

Italian Market Leaders

The market for refrigerated cabinets remains very concentrated. Italian producers such as Arneg, Epta, De Rigo dominate the market together with Carrier and AHT. Nevertheless, Polish providers in particular are penetrating the market with cheaper solutions and are gaining more and more market share.

The study examined the following countries: Germany, Italy, UK, France, Benelux, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland.

Link to the report


Copyright: Interconnection, Publication free of charge for coverage regarding the study and InterConnection Consulting.

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