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Cold Chain Packaging Refrigerants Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Product type (Gel Packs, Foam Bricks, and Others), By Application (Pharmaceuticals, Food, and Industrial) and Regional Forecast, 2020-2032

Last Updated: April 08, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI104287



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The global cold chain packaging refrigerant market size was valued at USD 1,09 Bn in 2019 and is expected to grow to USD 2.97 Bn by 2032, with a CAGR of 8.13% during the forecast period based on our analysis in the existing report.

Cold chain packaging refrigerants are used inside passive cold chain packaging containers such as polyurethane (PUR) boxes to keep the temperature inside the box regulated. These refrigerants are significantly used in cold chain packaging to protect the temperature of sensitive products such as vaccines, drugs, and others. The use of cold chain packaging refrigerants allows users to effectively reduce their operational costs without compromising on the quality of products encapsulated inside the containers.

Product innovation has been a key factor in the growth of the market in recent years and is expected to remain steady in the foreseeable future. Key players are focused on developing sustainable refrigerant products as well as customized solutions to the customers as per requirement. For instance, cold chain technologies offer Koolit gel pack refrigerants based on standard designs and customized solutions. Besides, it also offers gel in various material options like puncture-resistant nylon laminate film, polyethylene pouch, and spun-woven material backed by polyethylene film.

COVID-19 Pandemic to Temporarily Decline Growth Fueled by Supply Chain Disturbances

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted various industrial operations across the world. Supply chain disturbances and the unavailability of laborers have affected the growth of this market across the globe. The distribution of food and beverage products has been negatively impacted and thus lowered the demand for cold chain packaging refrigerants. International pharmaceutical shipments have also been affected due to pandemic, further restraining the consumption of these refrigerants. However, the demand for cold chain packaging refrigerants is expected to rapidly increase once the COVID-19 vaccine gets ready. It would require a huge amount of these refrigerants in cold chain logistics for distributing vaccines all around the world.

In high population countries such as India and China, the distribution of vaccines will incite the need for packaging refrigerants, which, in turn, would aid growth during COVID-19. On 4th October 2020, the Union Health Ministry of India announced that India will distribute and utilize around 400-500 million doses of vaccine by July 2021 within the country. This signifies the amount of time that would be required to distribute vaccines within a country, as well as the world. The role of cold chain logistics will be crucial in distributing the vaccines and eliminating the virus.


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Sustainable Refrigerant Products Are Trending in Market

Innovation and sustainability have been shaping the cold chain packaging refrigerant market over the years. Major end-use industries such as pharmaceutical and healthcare have started to adopt more sustainable products and solutions in their daily operations including logistics. According to the 2020 Biopharma Cold Chain Logistics Sustainability Survey conducted by Pelican BioThermal, 66% of the industry respondents agreed that sustainability is important in their organization, whereas 45% considered the sustainability factor into cold chain purchasing decisions, and 80% considered choosing cold chain packaging that advances sustainability for their organizations. Innovation has played an important role in advancing sustainability. For instance, in May 2019, Nordic Cold Solutions introduced the world’s first drain-friendly gel pack refrigerant. These gel packs can completely be reused or disposed of as per the customer’s discretion.  


Rising Demand for Biopharmaceutical Products to Propel Growth

There has been surging demand for biopharmaceutical products such as drugs, vaccines, blood, and others in recent years. The emerging economies have contributed significantly to the increased demand. For example, in African countries such as Nigeria, the supply of polio vaccines has been on the rise due to the growing government support in high-risk areas. Moreover, to support the aging population, the demand for critical drugs and enzymes like insulin has shot up in recent years. Cold chain packaging refrigerants play a pivotal role in securing the quality of such temperature-sensitive products.


Active Refrigeration Systems to Confine the Adoption of Refrigerants

Active refrigeration systems are preferred in the transportation of vegetables, fruits, and other perishable goods over long distances. Significant cost reduction can be achieved using active refrigeration instead of passive systems in a long transportation journey. Besides, the volume of products that can be transported through active systems is large. Also, the active system is easy to use which confines the growth of the market that is usually used in passive systems. However, in complex operations, a hybrid system (a combination of active & passive system) is used which accounts for the healthy proportion of cold chain packaging refrigerant consumption. Also, the operational cost of active systems is higher than the passive system.


By Product Type Analysis

Gel Packs Segment to Dominate the Global Market

Based on product type, the market is segmented into gel packs, foam bricks, and others. The gel packs segment dominated the global market with over two-fifth of the market share. Gel packs are effectively used in conjugation with cold chain packaging containers to keep the contents of the containers in the desired temperature range. Moreover, they can be reused again and again if proper refrigeration procedures are followed. In long haul shipping applications, gel packs when used with vacuum insulated panels (VIPs), offer extended autonomy.

The foam bricks segment accounted for the second-largest share in the market. They are generally used for the lining of the container and can withstand extremely cold temperatures in the range of -15°C to -21°C. The use of foam bricks significantly reduces the amount of dry ice used in a particular application. Other segments include products such as phase change materials, mats, and more.

By Application Analysis

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Food Segment Accounted for the Largest Share Backed by Their Rising Transportation

Based on the application, the market is segmented into pharmaceutical, food, and industrial. The food segment accounts for the largest share in the market, largely dominated by the volume of food transported across the globe in cold packaging using refrigerants to regulate the temperature.

The pharmaceutical segment accounted for more than one-fourth of the global market in 2019. It is the fastest-growing segment in the market owing to the increasing trade of medicines, vaccines, and other medical drugs. The industrial segment accounted for around one-seventh of the global market in 2019. Various temperature sensitive chemicals and solutions need to be transported in cold packaging.


Europe Cold Chain Packaging Refrigerants Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)

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Europe dominates the cold chain packaging refrigerant market. It has an extensive cold chain network that enables it to fulfill the high demand for perishable goods. The region consumes high quantities of frozen foods and packaged ready meals. But, varying temperature profiles across countries can be a challenge for the usage of passive cold chain solutions. Moreover, there are many landlocked countries in the region and cold packaging solutions play an important role in sufficing the food and pharmaceutical needs of such countries.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest consumers of cold chain packaging refrigerants in the region. According to Enterprise Ireland (Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency), the strong domestic (U.K.) demand for pharmaceutical products is increasing due to the rising prevalence of chronic diseases. The same trend can be observed in other neighboring countries too. This has driven the growth of cold packaging refrigerants in the region.

Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the global market. Countries such as India, China, Japan, South Korea, and others are witnessing rapid expansion of the biopharmaceutical industry. The rising population in the Indian sub-continent has strained the supply of food. The efficient management and distribution of food and pharmaceutical products to support the growing need of the population in the region is very crucial. China has been investing high in optimizing its cold chain logistics network and other related infrastructure to fulfill its domestic food and healthcare demand. In the coming years, the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will require an extensive network of cold chain logistics, which would aid the growth of the cold chain packaging refrigerants market.

North America held the third-largest market share on the back of the United States. Being a large country that has varied temperature profiles across different parts, the use of cold chain packaging refrigerants becomes very important along with active refrigeration systems that help in adjusting the desired temperature across changing weather conditions. The demand in the region is expected to grow steadily over the forecast period on the back of gradual developments.

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The Latin American market has high growth potential, but the political and social instability is the major growth hindrances and restricts the development of the cold chain industry in the region. Brazil & Mexico account for a significant share in the regional market demand. The Middle East and Africa accounted for a single-digit share in the global market. The lack of necessary infrastructure in the African sub-region confines market growth. However, with the help of global organizations and foreign governments, the local governments are boosting the development of cold chain infrastructure and are expected to drive growth during the forecast period. 


Leading Players Focus on Developing Innovative Refrigerant Solutions to Strengthen Their Positions

The market is fairly fragmented due to the high presence of global and regional players across the world. With increased complexity in food and pharma supply chains, the manufacturers of these products are focusing to develop customized and innovative product solutions that are compatible and cost-effective. For instance, Nordic Cold Chain Solutions, a leading supplier of refrigerants for cold chains, is focusing on developing refrigerant packs that can be reused and offer more sustainable cold chain temperature control. Such product developments have created a competitive environment among the key players to gain a more competitive edge in the market. Such activities are expected to aid market growth in the near future.  


  • Cold Chain Technologies (USA)

  • Blowkings (India)

  • Sonoco Thermosafe (USA)

  • THERMOCON (Germany)

  • Sofrigam (France)

  • Creative Packaging Company (USA)

  • Nordic Cold Chain Solutions (USA)

  • Tempack (Spain)

  • Cryopak (USA)

  • Coolways (The Netherlands)

  • Pelton Shepherd Industries (USA)

  • Cryolux America (USA)

  • The pack (USA)

  • Sancell (Australia)


  • May 2019: Nordic Cold Chain Solutions, one of the leading manufacturers of cold chain packaging refrigerants, launched the world’s first drain-friendly gel packs which can be reused and disposed of. The product is likely to replace other unsustainable solutions available in the market. The company’s position is expected to strengthen with this product.   


An Infographic Representation of Cold Chain Packaging Refrigerants Market

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The market report provides both qualitative & quantitative insights on this market. Quantitative insights include the global market sizing in terms of value (USD million) across each segment, sub-segment, and region profiled in the scope of the study. Also, the report covers market share analysis, trend analysis, and growth rates of segments, sub-segments, and key countries across each region. Qualitative insights cover an elaborative analysis of market drivers, restraints, growth opportunities, and key trends related to the market. The competitive landscape section covers the detailed profiling of the key players operating in the global market.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



   Value (USD Million)


  Product Type, Application, and Geography

By Product Type


  • Gel Packs

  • Foam Bricks

  • Others

By Application


  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Food

  • Industrial

By Geography


  • North America (By Product Type By Application and By Country)

    • The U.S. (By Application)

    • Canada (By Application)

  • Europe (By Product Type By Application and By Country)

    • UK (By Application)

    • France (By Application)

    • Germany (By Application)

    • Scandinavia (By Application)

    • Rest of Europe (By Application)

  • Asia Pacific (By Product Type By Application and By Country)

    • China (By Application)

    • India (By Application)

    • Japan (By Application)

    • South Korea (By Product Type)

    • ASEAN (By Application)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Application)

  • Latin America (By Product Type By Application and By Country)

    • Brazil (By Application)

    • Mexico (By Application)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Application)

  • The Middle East & Africa (By Product Type By Application and By Country)

    • Africa (By Application)

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa (By Application)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global cold chain packaging refrigerant market size was valued $1,09 Bn in 2019 and is expected to grow to $2.97 Bn by 2032, with a CAGR of 8.13%.

The market will register a CAGR of 8.13% and exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2032).

The gel packs segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.

The rising demand for biopharmaceutical products is the key factor driving the market.

Cold Chain Technologies, Sonoco Thermosafe, and Nordic Cold Solutions are the leading players in the market.

Europe dominated the global market in terms of share in 2019.

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