SAN JOSE, Calif. — According to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA), the global market for refrigerated display cabinets is forecast to reach over $5.34 billion by the year 2017, stimulated by a rise in food retailing, restaurants, take-aways and other non-traditional food outlets such as kiosks and gas stations.

The report says that changing consumer lifestyles, rising expendable income, level of urbanization, and greater demand for premium products bodes well for the commercial refrigeration equipment market. Refrigerated display cabinets are primarily used in supermarkets, hypermarkets and grocery shops to preserve, store, and display temperature-sensitive, frozen, and chilled food products. Visibility of a product is essential for the sale of goods, illustrating the importance of refrigerated display cabinets in food retailing.

The increase in the number of hotels, restaurants, take-aways, and non-traditional outlets such as kiosks and gas stations will spur demand for refrigeration equipment such as freezers, coolers, and beverage refrigeration equipment, says the report. Additionally, the retail and convenience sectors are transforming their menus to add more gourmet on-the-go foodservice, thereby requiring new equipment that extends shelf life and enhances product appeal. There is an increasing affinity for new equipment and technology as customers worldwide are increasingly seeking out refrigeration products that improve food safety, enhance performance, conserve energy, and support environmental goals. New high-technology display cabinets are providing retailers with enhanced product visibility, reduced energy costs, increased pack-out and lower shrink. In addition to core developments in quality and design, the roll out of white light LED lighting systems for reach-in cases, and microchips embedded within traditional compressors are the main focus of attention.

The food and beverage retail sector will remain the most lucrative end-use market for commercial refrigeration, largely due to the growing number of food retailers, and continued popularity of frozen foods. Refrigerated display cabinets together with walk-in refrigerators account for about 45 percent of the global commercial refrigeration equipments market. Going forward, the potential for incremental gains from new equipment installations will be less, while emphasis will be on revenues generated through replacement sales. Natural wear-and-tear of plug-in refrigeration equipment, evolution of new product designs, and the rising focus on energy efficiency will all help prop up the business case for modernization.

In order to survive in the tough, changing economy, and create greater value, manufacturers are looking at energy-efficient refrigeration solutions that help in streamlining food storage/display and ensure higher profitability. Significant improvements in compressors, coil designs and airflow are rapidly becoming the new standards of the industry. In addition, environmental legislation will trigger migration towards equipment solutions that are eco-friendly, enable energy-savings and reduce CO2 emissions. A number of hydrocarbon refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP), including isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), as well as CO2 and ammonia, are finding increasing usage over the last decade or so. The trend is compelling refrigeration manufacturers to redesign equipment to suit the properties of natural refrigerants. Refrigerated display cabinets employing hydrocarbon refrigerants witnessed a surge in demand, with consumption rising by as much as 30 percent in the near term.

The United States and Europe represent the largest markets for commercial refrigeration products. By product type, multi deck cases represent the largest segment in the U.S. market. Server cases and reach-in cases are poised to display high growth potential in the U.S. market through 2017.

Publication date: 10/24/2011