Demand for commercial refrigeration equipment in the United States is expected to rise almost 5% per year through 2004, reaching $9 billion, according toCommercial Refrigeration Equipment,a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, OH-based market research firm.

Advances will result from the growing number of food stores, which will create demand for items such as display cases and walk-in coolers. Accelerating growth in the number of restaurants will create demand for equipment such as coolers, freezers, beverage refrigeration equipment, and ice machines.

These factors will be offset somewhat by a slowing economic outlook, which is expected to discourage capital investment by food producers and distributors for items such as refrigerated trucks.

Best Growth

Commercial refrigeration products that will see the best growth are display cases, reach-in freezers and coolers, parts, and cryogenic equipment.

Display cases will benefit from the rising number of grocery stores and the continued expansion of grocery sales into major retail chains such as Wal-Mart, while reach-ins will be boosted by the growing number of eating and drinking establishments.

Rising levels of capital investment in the scientific community, most notably in medical applications, will fuel demand for blood storage and cryogenic equipment. Parts shipments will benefit from the growing amount of refrigeration equipment in use.


Food service is expected to be among the fastest growing markets through 2004. The rising number of restaurants in the U.S. is due in part to expansion efforts on the part of established restaurant chains intent on satisfying increasing demand from consumers who are too busy to cook meals at home.

The food retail market will also post above-average gains, due to the rising number of food retailers. Attempts by existing food retailers to offer home meal replacements will boost gains, requiring additional refrigeration equipment per store.

Food distribution, the largest sector, is actually expected to experience below-average growth through 2004, due to a slowing in capital investment that will cause distributors to become more conservative in their spending. The significant amount of refrigerated trucks added from 1994 to 1999 will dampen the need for fleet expansions.

For more information on the study, contact Corrine Gangloff at 440-684-9600; 440-646-0484 (fax);

Publication date: 02/05/2001