CLEVELAND — Demand for commercial refrigeration equipment in the United States is forecast to increase 3.1 percent per year through 2018 to $10.7 billion, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Advances will be driven by an improving capital investment climate and expected growth in the foodservice and food retail sectors.

Analyst Kyle Peters said, “Food industry participants will seek to reduce operating costs by improving the efficiency of their refrigeration equipment, helping to drive sales.” Greater efficiency will result from the incorporation of proximity sensors and light-emitting diode (LED) lighting systems and from increased use of enclosed equipment. However, the retrofitting of such features to existing equipment will limit potential gains for new equipment to some degree.

Environmental regulations regarding refrigerants play a key role in the commercial refrigeration industry, noted Freedonia. R-22 is currently set to be phased out by 2020. Although commercial refrigeration equipment purchased after 2010 utilizes other refrigerants, many pre-2010 systems — especially display cases and liquid chillers — run on R-22. The phaseout is expected to significantly affect new refrigeration equipment sales well before it is completed.

Transportation refrigeration equipment, which includes shipping containers, trailer refrigeration systems, and truck refrigeration systems, is the largest commercial refrigeration equipment segment and will account for the largest share of growth through 2018. Sales gains for shipping containers will be spurred by increased opportunities for U.S.-based food producers in foreign markets. In addition, ongoing warehouse consolidation, which extends the distance from warehouses to many consumers, will boost demand for refrigerated trucks and trailers. Although transportation refrigeration equipment will achieve the fastest growth, most other categories will also post accelerated gains over the forecast period as the economic environment continues to improve.

For more information on the new “Commercial Refrigeration Equipment” study, visit

Publication date: 5/5/2014

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