Developers Flock to Cold Storage as Americans Stock Their Freezers
Companies are seeking to build, buy or invest in the sector, despite construction costs that are roughly triple that of an ordinary warehouse.
By Martha C. White
Americans have treated their freezers a bit like security blankets over the past year, stuffing them full of staples and indulgences, a consumer behavior pattern that has had ripple effects beyond the walls of their kitchens.
Developers that focus on cold storage facilities say they are seeing growing interest from companies seeking to build, buy or invest in the sector, despite construction costs that are roughly triple that of an ordinary warehouse.
Americold, a logistics company focused on the cold storage supply chain, reported that its revenue grew 11.4 percent in 2020 from the previous year.
“We gave guidance pre-Covid for our 2020 year, and we’re one of the few companies that didn’t lift or change that guidance,” said Fred Boehler, chief executive of Americold, which added 46 facilities to its portfolio through a $1.74 billion acquisition of Agro Merchants Group last year. “What we eat and where we eat will change, but we’re going to eat.”
Where we eat has shifted overwhelmingly to our own kitchens and living rooms, and what we eat increasingly comes from the freezer.
“People were very nervous not just about getting to a store, but what was going to happen with the supply chain,” said Jill Standish, global head of the retail practice at consulting firm Accenture. She added that a survey in March 2020, the month the World Health Organization declared the pandemic, found that about one-third of American shoppers were buying more frozen food than normal.
Even though the food supply chain issues that characterized the early days of the pandemic have largely abated, Americans are still stocking up.
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