© David Tonelson

The ‘Move to –15ºC’, an initiative to transport perishables at -15ºC rather than -18ºC, has gained support from the company behind the current temperature standard, as stakeholders look to reduce carbon emissions.  

DP World’s account director for reefer supply chain services, Dirk Hoffman, told The Loadstar: “The legend is, when Birdseye was creating its cold storage facilities in the US in the 1930s, it set its operating protocols at 0ºF, which is the closest to -18ºC. So, for 100 years, we’ve been freezing down to -18ºC. And I would probably say, at the time, without any science.” 

But yesterday, Birds Eye’s parent company, Nomad Foods, announced its support for the initiative to set reefer containers up three degrees, to -15ºC. Nomad is Europe’s leading frozen food manufacturer, with brands including Findus and Iglo. 

CEO Stéfan Descheemaeker said: “As we celebrate 100 years since flash freezing was invented by Clarence Birdseye, I think he would be very proud to see the innovations being driven in the frozen food category to tackle the world’s greatest challenge, climate change.” 

In February, Nomad released the results of a study, which revealed that storing frozen food at -15ºC, instead of the industry standard -18ºC, can reduce freezer energy consumption by 10%-11% without any noticeable impact on product safety, texture, taste or nutritional value. 

Additionally, a DP World-funded study, carried out by the Paris-based International Institute of Refrigeration, the University of Birmingham, London South Bank University and others, found that raising reefer container temperatures by three degrees could save 17.7m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – the equivalent of taking 3,800,000 cars off the road. 

The ‘Move to -15ºC’ has more than doubled its membership numbers since its COP28 launch, with recent support from international food company Danish Crown, global logistics provider Blue Water Shipping, Europe’s second-largest cold logistics operator, Constellation Cold Logistics, and Indicold, a provider of cold storage and logistics solutions in India. 

Further, one of the largest purchasers and lessors of refrigerated containers in the world, Seacube Container Leasing, has also recently joined the Coalition.  

Chairman of the Move to -15°C Coalition Thomas Eskesen said: “Collaboration is essential to our success, so we are delighted to have attracted so many notable new members. Not only is it great to see our geographic footprint growing, but we are also seeing more members from across every stage of the frozen food supply chain.  

“By redefining temperature set points, we stand to make a significant impact in the decarbonisation of global supply chains.” 

But he stressed: “No one company can do this alone. To set us up for success, our focus remains on scaling our membership base and we encourage key players within the frozen food supply chain to reach out and get involved.”

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