With Rise of Curbside, Food & Beverage Retailers Invest in High-Tech Refrigeration Equipment

Global demand for commercial food and beverage refrigeration equipment fell roughly 10% in 2020 and remained below the 2019 level in early 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic also produced trends that moderated market losses:

  • Since many food and beverage items are essential products, demand for refrigeration equipment remained fairly strong in most nations, particularly in comparison to other durable goods.
  • Many countries allowed food and beverage retailers to remain operational during shutdowns because of the critical role they play in supporting the population.
  • Businesses in some parts of the world also rolled out new services – such as curbside pickup – during the pandemic and this forced them to invest in additional commercial refrigeration equipment.

Additionally, some pandemic trends – like the rise of curbside pickup and online food delivery – are expected to stick around. This will drive long-term market opportunities for food and beverage refrigeration equipment suppliers, as products will be increasingly paired with value-added features like advanced display cases and sophisticated sensors to support contactless or unattended retail.

Global Sales of Commercial Food & Beverage Refrigeration Equipment to Hit $14 Billion in 2024

As the COVID-19 restrictions ease, the global food and beverage retail sector is expected to see spending on commercial refrigeration equipment rebound at a swift pace starting in 2022, aided by:

  • improved economic conditions and rising consumer spending
  • the construction of new food and beverage retail outlets, particularly in developing countries such as India
  • a build-up in replacement product demand in many parts of the world, reflecting the large number of retailers that delayed machinery purchases during the pandemic
  • the introduction of numerous new commercial refrigeration technologies following the delay of many product launches during the pandemic
  • evolving consumer trends, such as increasing refrigerated food and beverage product consumption in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America

Additionally, with operators in many parts of the world delaying equipment purchases in 2020, replacement product demand is expected to accelerate during the post-pandemic recovery.

Want to Learn More?

Global Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Food Retail Market is now available from the Freedonia Group. This study covers the global commercial refrigeration equipment used in retail applications (e.g., food retailers, restaurants, and manufacturing plants). Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 and 2029 are provided in US dollars. Key products including in the scope of this report include:

  • display cases
  • reach-in and walk-in refrigerators and freezers
  • beverage refrigeration equipment (e.g., drinking fountains, beer dispensing equipment)
  • ice machines
  • refrigerated vending machines
  • other commercial refrigeration equipment, such as dairy coolers, refrigerated food preparation stations, and batch freezers)
  • replacement parts, including condensers, compressors, filters, seals, and valves (parts sold to OEM suppliers are excluded)

Applications for commercial refrigeration equipment in the food retail industry include the storage of food and beverage products on the sales floor and in storerooms. Among the retail food establishments included here are convenience stores, mass merchandisers, and supermarkets.