Comment: New refrigeration technologies drive efficiency in Middle East food chain

By Amir Naqvi, regional business leader, Honeywell Flourine Products, META
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Amir Naqvi, regional business leader, Honeywell Flourine Products, META, tells Caterer Middle East how new refrigeration technologies are driving efficiency in the Middle East food chain.

"The Middle East’s food chain is facing a cost-of-business double-whammy. Regional food suppliers and retailers already spend huge amounts of money getting food from farm to table. 

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With arid, harsh weather conditions, locally produced food is scarce, and a high proportion of goods must be flown or shipped in and then moved by truck or rail to warehouses, food stores and hypermarkets.

The sheer extent and complexity of the Middle East cold chain makes refrigeration operations more expensive than in other geographic regions, with extreme temperatures exacerbating costs to preserve food.

Add to that, new investments in compliance. Gulf Countries Council (GCC) food suppliers and retailers must prepare for the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali amendment, which is focused on phasing down high-global-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs). Additionally, Saudi Vision 2030 and the UAE’s Energy Plan 2050 have together set tough new domestic energy efficiency goals.

Currently, many GCC food suppliers and retailers are running older refrigeration systems that leak, are ineffective and emit unacceptable levels of greenhouse gases. As the new regulations take hold, the sale of these refrigerants has been severely restricted, with the global supply cut in half this year.

The pressure is on GCC food suppliers and retailers to invest in new refrigerants to avoid a disruption in supply, and to continue to meet the food integrity and safety expectations of consumers.

Fortunately, new refrigerant technologies have been developed to resolve these issues while enabling regulatory compliance. Tesco, for example, is one of 30 supermarket brands that is adopting Honeywell refrigerants. It is upgrading 1,200 of its stores to Solstice N40 and expects to reduce emissions in those stores by 40 percent.

To date, energy-efficient Honeywell refrigerant has been installed in more than 20,000 supermarket refrigeration systems, including in cold storage warehouses manufactured by Saudi Arabia-based CGS, which has deployed Honeywell Genetron Performax LT refrigerant to help meet Saudi Vision 2030 requirements.

These new refrigeration technologies are provided at minimal cost and labor to the end user, ensuring a cost-effective solution for participating supermarkets that also complies with the new regional regulations."

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