Developing countries: the role of refrigeration in nutrition

The global population is booming, but the global food supply is not. It is estimated that by the year 2030 about 84% of the world’s 8.3 billion people will inhabit developing countries. Currently, close to 900 million are severely malnourished.

A major shortfall of global food production is post-harvest loses, if not preceded by contamination and poor harvesting timing, methods and hygiene; and not succeeded by the lack of cultivatable land, water resources (insufficient irrigation), and improved agricultural technology. A portion of post-harvest loses of perishable food can be contributed to somewhat inadequate preservation technologies for large harvests. Satisfactory nutritional distribution is not only upheld in the quantity of food but the quality as well.

Refrigeration is key to the safety and security of food and could reduce a large portion of food loses. Drying, salting and canning are effective preservation methods, but these do not go far enough to extend shelf life, food quantity and food quality like refrigeration can. Refrigeration reduces spoilage (especially effective in high ambient temperature countries) and foodborne illnesses, and as for the preservation of quantity, large yields can be maintained by refrigerated trucks when transported far distances from farm to buyer. This is vital for growing economies when it comes to international trade. In addition, refrigeration is highly important for ‘out of season’ food reserves and storage.

Warm developing countries, like those in sub-Saharan Africa, have different refrigeration needs to other developing countries. In these countries, there is a greater need for close proximity and large storage capacity refrigeration plants, rapid cooling, and an unbroken and sophisticated cold chain network.

“The strengthening of the cold chain is thus vital within the framework of food safety and prevention of undernourishment. The cost of refrigeration, including both the acquisition and the operation of equipment, can often be offset, especially for the most expensive foods, by the revenue from sales of foodstuffs that, without refrigerating equipment, would otherwise have been lost.”

BITZER offers compressors that cater specifically to the cold chain industry (most popular is the ECOLINE) – trucks, trailers, ships and containers. For road transportation, compressors such as the ROADSTAR, the FR series and the OCTAGON 2-stage are most commonly used. For ship cooling, the HSK, HSN, OSK and OSN series are widespread, and the OCTAGON 2-stage is the compressor of choice for containers. For cold storage, the following compressors are most commonly used OSKA series, OSK series, HSK series, W…A series and 2nd generation 2-stage.

BITZER is continuously looking to the future when it comes to the ability to provide refrigeration solutions that are reliable over the long term. BITZER is internationally renowned for its energy efficiency, specifically at full and part load; its ability to operate economically with low GWP refrigerants; and its user friendliness.

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