Graham Purnell of the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) is spearheading a comprehensive cold store survey targeting agricultural and horticultural businesses throughout December and January. The primary goal of the initiative is to evaluate the current stock of cold storage facilities, both large and small, utilised by Agric and Hortic food businesses across Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland. The survey aims to anticipate how businesses will adapt to future challenges, particularly in light of climate change and upcoming changes in F Gas regulations scheduled for 2025.
The Greater Lincolnshire Cool Chain Strategy 2030, part of a broader effort to fortify the region's agri-food sector, underscores the critical role of an efficient cool chain in providing safe, nutritious, and high-quality foods to consumers. Data from the Cold Chain Federation (CCF) indicates that over half of the UK's cold store facilities are over two decades old, signalling a need for revitalisation.
The University of Lincoln, with funding from Lincolnshire County Council and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, is conducting strategic research to assess the regional cool chain infrastructure, spanning farms, processors, transport, and storage. The study aims to make recommendations for enhancing energy efficiency, transitioning to lower-carbon operations, and identifying future investments and initiatives to support the cool chain sector.
Dr. Graham Purnell encourages collaboration with key stakeholders in the food supply cool chain, including users and operators of cool chain elements, as well as energy sector technology suppliers specialising in energy savings, low carbon, and renewables.
As part of the data collection process, the survey seeks input from farms and primary producers, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the current and future needs of the sector. The survey's objectives include profiling existing cool chain and refrigerated storage facilities, determining stakeholder needs, identifying improvement opportunities, and outlining required support structures and inward investment.
The survey assures confidentiality, with all information treated as such and not shared with any other entity. Anonymity of respondents will be maintained, and only anonymised and/or aggregated data will be presented as outputs.
To participate in the survey, businesses are encouraged to contact Dr. Graham Purnell at email@example.com or 07890 420094. The survey covers essential aspects such as the type of food or horticultural products produced, the age and size of refrigerated stores, target temperatures, refrigerants used, energy use details, and challenges in moving towards more energy-efficient cool storage.
The Greater Lincolnshire Cool Chain Plan 2030 is a collaborative effort to future-proof the agri-food sector, ensuring sustainability and resilience in the face of evolving challenges.