The role of cold storage in human society is immense. In fact, the use of cold storage has altered human life in ways similar to the use of fire and the invention of wheels.
Cold Storage History
It is not even as if the concept of cold storage is a modern concept. Ice was harvested and stored by many ancient cultures with a view to using its cooling properties to preserve food. From the ancient Chinese to the old Romans and Greeks, people made use of ice to create a sort of a primitive form of refrigeration.
The industrial age and the rise of cities far away from where food was grown led to the demand for ice to preserve food. In the beginning natural ice was used, but this was an inefficient method and not very hygienic. The subsequent invention of mechanical refrigeration was the perfect solution to this problem.
Refrigeration – Evolution and Applications
Refrigeration in day-to-day life
Refrigeration that has evolved over the last century and a half has managed to connect far off centres of food productions with wherever the people choose to live. The invention of the personal refrigerator further accentuated the role that storing food in a cold enclosed environment has on our day-to-day lives.
Application of Refrigeration
However, the commercial use of refrigeration in setting up cold storages has had a humongous impact on society without our even realizing it. From the brewing industry and meat packing industry to the large scale distribution of perishable food stuffs cold storages began to be set up in a big way.
Other industries that found cold storages extremely useful were fur and woollen goods, plant nurseries and florists, sugar, chocolate and so many more. Society as it evolved in the post industrial world owes a great deal to the fact that the advent of cold storages improved people’s diets by making a diverse amount of food sourced from far and wide.
How Refrigeration Changed The Face of The USA?
The U.S. saw the use of refrigerated rail-road cars from the middle of the nineteenth century and actually helped establish major cities like Chicago and Kansas City as places specializing in the slaughter of animals for meat. Other centres specialized in other forms of food-California for various kinds of fruit, Georgia for peaches and Florida for citrus fruits.
Advantages of Cold-Storage Rooms
1. Better Economic Growth
Introduction of cold storage rooms meant that people could travel farther and farther for work and that in turn realty enhanced economic growth. This led to an overall improvement in the living standards of the world leading to the creation of a virtuous cycle of prosperity leading to more progress leading to even greater prosperity.
It is no coincidence that nations with well-established cold storage chains are much better off economically than the ones who don’t. This is the reason why improvement and augmentation of a cold storage chain is something most developing countries take very seriously.
2. Development In Agriculture
An increase in cold storage capacity could revolutionize agriculture, something that has huge significance for populous nations.
Among the advantages that it could provide are extending the shelf life of crops by greatly reducing loss caused by edible items going bad because of lack of cold storage facilities. That apart, the growers of food crops would hope to get a better price because of both the better state of their produce and the larger volume they are able to sell because of access to cold storage facilities.
3. Bargaining Power
The enhanced mobility that cold storage provides them lets them take their produce to markets that pay more. This improves their bargaining power.
4. Improve Shelf Life
By being able to store food and thereby extend the shelf life of food items, humans have been able to improve the supply of food to those who need it. This is because of both reducing food lost because of natural reasons and by reaching it far greater distances.
5. Boost Logistic Network
Among the easiest and cheapest way to augment food supply is by way of providing cold storage infrastructure around the world. This will increase the shelf life of food items, thereby reducing colossal wastage on a global level and also enhance logistical ability to transport food where it is required.
6. Better Employment Opportunities
Once a nation has sufficient amount of cold storage capacity, the major food processing companies of the world get interested in sourcing food produce from there. This entails massive investment by them in the process generating tremendous employment. The impact that the possession of a smartphone or access to the Internet has on human society is very dramatic, but it is nowhere as profound, as is the impact of having a network of modern cold storages.
What the introduction of cold storage also does is to make the whole agriculture more scientifically and professionally run leading to the accrual of many efficiencies of economies and scale. At the same time, the whole process of setting up cold storage leads to more jobs for many people. This is not just for the people employed directly in the cold storage industry, but also those involved in allied industries like transportation.
Why Developing Countries Need To Invest in Better Cold Storage Facilities?
Imagine the kind of impact that this is going to have on a populous nation. This is what cold storage does to human society. It liberates it and makes it more prosperous and dynamic. It creates wealth. This is true of the entire world, but has even greater resonance in the developing world.
As much as 30% of the food consumed in developing countries is perishable. In order for one to reduce post-harvest losses across every stage of post-harvest cycle, there have to be arrangements for cold storage made across the value chain. The impact of temperature control on the shelf life of fresh produce is significant.
It is of course ironic that a technology which has been around for so long and is as important for the progress of human society as roads, railways and tele-communications, should have not been accorded the importance it deserved in these nations. Many of the developing countries are in the tropical parts of the world where fresh produce goes bad much sooner than it does in Europe and many part of North America.
This would imply that there is far greater need for cold storage infrastructure in the developing world than there is in the industrialized and developed countries. If the presence of cold storages could have such a dramatic impact upon the economic and social lives of countries in the temperate regions of the world, their impact on tropical nations would be even more profound.
How Cold Storage Improved Economy of the US and Western European nations?
In the U.S. and Western European nations, cold storage has helped develop the supply chains to serve the meat, dairy, fish and horticulture industries, since the 1950s. The developing world on the other hand still lags in this aspect and that has a profoundly negative impact on their societies in terms of lost economic opportunity. This is turns has its impact on the standard of living of the