Viking Cold Solutions™, Inc.
10335 Landsbury Drive
Houston, TX 77099
United States of America
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In recent years the popularity of frozen food has steadily increased in the United States. However, during the pandemic, frozen food experienced a surge in demand. The Food Institute reports that frozen food sales increased by 21%, with the pandemic serving as a major contributing factor to this growth. The pandemic-induced lockdowns and social distancing measures led to significant changes in people's eating habits, and many turned to frozen foods for their convenience, long shelf life, nutritional value, and ability to be stored in bulk. Source: Quartz Despite a steady increase in dollar sales, unit sales of frozen food fell in 2021 and 2022 by 3.2% and 5.1%, respectively, highlighting the potential impact of inflation on frozen food costs, reported the Food & Beverage Insider. Notwithstanding these declines, unit sales are still higher than they were before the pandemic, demonstrating that the demand for frozen foods remains strong – in part thanks to millennials who have now become frozen food’s largest consumers. According to the Food Navigator, older millennial shoppers, who are approaching the age of 40, represent 48% of the consumers of frozen foods. This generation prioritizes health and wellness and values a wider range of culinary options that use premium ingredients with fewer additives and preservatives. Alongside nutrition, they also demand convenience and sustainability in their food choices. With over 3,700 options in the frozen food section, there is something for every taste and lifestyle, notes the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. The growing popularity of frozen food has led 29% of consumers to expand their freezer space since the pandemic began, reported the American Frozen Food Institute. As demand for frozen food products increases, retailers are seeking ways to optimize their freezer sections while also reducing energy consumption for higher quality and more efficient frozen food storage. Companies like Viking Cold Solutions are helping retailers and distributors to not only improve the efficiency of their cold storage system by up to 50% but also increase facility resiliency. These advancements indicate a promising and sustainable future for frozen food. With all the demands on consumers’ lives, the greater convenience and quality of frozen foods meet a growing priority. The frozen food industry now has innovative new technologies to sustainably address consumers’ needs while reducing energy costs. Given the challenges of inflation and an unstable economy, it will be interesting to observe the further developments of frozen foods and cold storage technologies over the next few years. Learn more about Viking Cold’s sustainable Thermal Energy Storage technology here.
The Houston Food Bank distributes over 158 million meals every year to people struggling with hunger. With the help of more than 1,600 community partners to combat hunger and food insecurity, the Houston Food Bank provides individuals with food assistance as well as programs and services targeted at achieving long-term food stability. According to the Houston Food Bank, around 1 million people in southeast Texas are food insecure – 1 in 7 people face hunger as well as 1 in 5 children. Following the pandemic, food insecurity and unemployment increased dramatically. 53 million people sought assistance from food banks and neighborhood programs in 2021 to put food on their table. To help manage energy costs, the Houston Food Bank is partnering with Viking Cold Solutions and plans to install Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology in their temperature-controlled facilities. TES systems are a cost-effective way to store and manage the large amounts of energy required by refrigeration equipment in cold storage facilities. Developed and patented by Viking Cold, the TES system will reduce electrical consumption and demand during peak energy usage hours inside the Houston Food Bank’s cold storage warehouse and will improve temperature stability inside their freezer. Cold storage facilities, such as frozen food warehouses, have the highest energy demand per cubic foot of any building. During peak energy use periods, they can account for up to 70 percent of the total electricity bill for organizations. The TES system's energy savings will enable the Houston Food Bank to offer thousands of additional meals every year and feed more people. Viking Cold’s partnership will help the Houston Food Bank better manage its energy usage by providing cutting-edge technology that will benefit the organization and support its mission for many years to come. Viking Cold Solutions has partnered with food programs across the United States as part of the Feeding America network, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. For more information about Viking Cold Solutions’ Thermal Energy Storage systems, click here.
Situation: United States Cold Storage (USCS) is one of the top refrigerated warehousing and related logistics services companies operating throughout North America. Their Tulare South facility is a 116,482 square foot frozen food warehouse located in the agriculturally focused Inland Empire of Southern California. The state of California has committed to reaching a goal of 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by 2045, and USCS is just as committed to reducing their energy usage. To help California meet its energy demand reduction goals, USCS set out to focus on energy efficiency and better temperature control in their energy-intensive warehouses. Challenge: Operations managers at USCS face daily energy use challenges. To help alleviate these issues, USCS chose their Tulare South location to explore options with energy-saving technologies. The goals were to safely meet California's energy demand reduction initiatives by lowering demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while also addressing energy-use concerns, decreasing costs, and increasing sustainability and resiliency. Solution: USCS adopted Thermal Energy Storage (TES) technology to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy costs. Viking Cold Solutions installed energy meters, sensors, and controls throughout Tulare South’s temperature-controlled warehouse to monitor its operations and performance. Viking Cold then installed energy storage modules containing environmentally friendly Phase Change Material (PCM) which, when combined with cloud-based optimization algorithms, allowed Tulare South to control when and how it uses and procures energy. The facility's digitization, energy storage, and cloud-based optimization allows Viking Cold to continuously assess and improve the performance of USCS’s frozen food warehouse. Outcome: By utilizing Viking Cold's TES technology and optimization services, USCS lowered Tulare South’s peak period demand by more than 30% and refrigeration energy consumption by 25%, resulting in an annual carbon footprint reduction of over 350 tons at this facility. The frozen food warehouse not only increased energy efficiency but also increased temperature stability in the freezer by over 40%, better protecting the food. Operators of cold storage facilities, businesses with refrigeration loads, and utilities that need to control peak demands on the electrical grid all stand to gain significantly from Thermal Energy Storage. USCS Tulare South is a prime example of how TES technology effectively lowers energy demand and consumption while improving temperature stability in cold storage facilities. As a result, operational costs are reduced, product is protected, and environmental effects are minimized. For a more detailed account of Thermal Energy Storage and its benefits, download the USCS Tulare South Case Study.