Refrigeration Units

Call for food business energy price cap

At the Cold Chain Live! conference at the NEC in Birmingham, Cold Chain Federation President Tim Moran will urge Government to help curb further food inflation by implementing an energy price cap for businesses in the food industry. The food business price cap is one of a suite of measures advocated in the new Cold Chain Energy Access Crisis Action Plan, published today by the Cold Chain Federation.

The Action Plan comes as temperature-controlled storage and distribution businesses – the lynchpin of the fresh and frozen food supply chain – are being hit by multiple huge cost increases and fear worse to come. In addition to advocating the immediate extension of any price cap or other market intervention to all businesses in the food supply chain, the Action Plan includes longer-term measures to support an acceleration in the food industry’s transition to sustainable, resilient and green power.

The Cold Chain Federation is the voice of the temperature-controlled storage and distribution industry, and its Cold Chain Live! conference on 8th and 9th September 2022 is bringing together cold chain industry leaders with parliamentarians and academics to discuss the future of the industry as it navigates a period of exceptional change.

Tim Moran

Tim Moran

said: “The cold chain is being buffeted on all sides by the inflation crisis. Keeping food cold is energy intensive in its very nature, and the cost of electricity for cold storage has at least doubled already and is going higher. Add the cost of diesel, wages and equipment and across both the storage and the distribution of fresh and frozen food, our industry is experiencing increases far beyond what we can absorb. We are a very resilient industry but we are very concerned about the coming months.

It has been short-sighted of Government to think only about the direct cost of energy to domestic consumers: an energy price cap for food industry businesses is essential to tackling food price inflation.

Looking to food chain resilience in the medium and longer term, we are urging Government to work with us to accelerate the transition to a new kind of electricity network where businesses like cold stores are not just users of powers, but generators and stores of energy as part of a more resilient, greener infrastructure.”

The measures detailed in the Cold Chain Energy Access Crisis Action Plan published today include (see here for the full suite of measures):

  • Extend any price cap or other market intervention to all businesses in the food supply chain
  • Ensure food supply chain is a priority industry for supply in the event of hopefully unlikely shortages this winter
  • Fast track planning applications for midscale renewables, especially wind and subsidise connection costs
  • Increase access to Renewable Energy Generation and Storage Installation Grants / Loans
  • Extend energy efficiency incentives for energy intensive businesses through the Climate Change Agreement scheme
  • Transition to demand response and fully incentivise intensive industries that can play a role in grid balancing

Cold Chain Live! conference heard from speakers including Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change and former Secretary of State for the Environment; and Harld Peters, President Europe of Lineage Logistics. The conference was chaired by ITV’s Sameena Ali-Khan and issues for discussion include how the food supply chain has changed as a result of the pandemic; the impacts of Brexit; the journey towards a net zero cold chain; and people in the cold chain.

In his speech, Cold Chain Federation President Tim Moran also highlighted the long-term changes underway for the food supply chain:

“Attitudes to the supply chain have changed, and there is certainly new recognition from government of the cold chain’s importance. We can not see Covid, Brexit and war as unpredictable anomalies, but recognise that the world economy, geopolitics and our planet are going through sudden dramatic change. We are in the era of resilience and the quality of the investment, talent and planning of cold chains will be crucial to economic success.”

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