Cold chain investments in India could reach $15 bn in 5 years: Report
Cold chain investments in India could reach $15 bn in 5 years: Report
New Delhi: Investments in cold chains in India could reach USD 15 billion in the next five years, according to a report.
The report by Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) stated cold chains running on renewable energy can help in cutting down loss of perishable items like fruits and vegetables, which runs as high as 40 per cent of the total fresh food produce.
London-headquartered IMechE is a professional body of engineers with over 100,000 members in more than 140 nations.
"India's investment in cold chain is forecast to be USD 15 billion over the next five years," the report said adding to ensure this investment is sustainable and cost effective, there should be a thrust on using renewable energy sources.
"Investment in cold chain infrastructure driven by renewable energy is the key to prevent loss of perishable food, alleviating world hunger, improving health through better nutrition and improving air quality," IMechE, Head of Energy and Environment, Tim Fox said here.
The government, NGOs and retailers should take steps to establish cold chains which use renewable energy like solar power," he added.
Out of the total farm exports of USD 37 billion, fruits and vegetables accounts for just about USD 1.5 billion, the report said.
A major reason for this is that perishable items like fruits and vegetables rot before reaching the consumer due to inadequate supply chain infrastructure, it added.
The report says that 40 per cent of fresh food produce is lost annually in India.
Fox pitched for the use of cryogenic engine technology for cooling of agricultural produce.
"At today's prices, using the cryogenic engine technology highlighted in our report to provide the cooling of large refrigerated lorry or rail containers will cost between a fifth and a third of using diesel for the same job," Fox said.
The technology has the added benefit of zero emission of pollutants, he claimed.
It will help farmers increase their income by selling more produce and also reduce pollution, he added.
Besides, renewable energy resources are available in abundance in India and are the key to unlocking sustainable cold chains, he said.
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Differences Between Store Retail and Non-Store Retail
Differences Between Store Retail and Non-Store Retail

In today's dynamic retail environment, understanding the nuances between store retail and non-store retail is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. These two retail models cater to different customer needs and preferences, shaping the way we think about shopping and commerce.

Store Retail: The Traditional Touchpoint

Store retail, often synonymous with brick-and-mortar stores, offers a tangible shopping experience. Customers value the sensory engagement – the ability to touch, feel, and try products. This model thrives on personal interaction and immediate gratification. A customer in Chennai shared, "I prefer store shopping for clothes, as I can try them on for the perfect fit." Indeed, a 2023 survey revealed that 65% of shoppers prefer buying certain items in-store due to these factors.

Moreover, store retail supports the local economy. Small businesses and retailers form the backbone of communities, offering personalized services. A study by the Retailers Association of India highlighted that small retail businesses contribute significantly to local employment, accounting for about 10% of the workforce.

Non-Store Retail: The Convenience Revolution

On the flip side, non-store retail, which includes online shopping, direct selling, and telemarketing, has transformed the retail landscape. The ease of shopping from anywhere at any time is its biggest allure. A Bengaluru-based entrepreneur mentioned, "Online shopping has been a game changer for my business, allowing me to reach customers nationwide."

Statistics reinforce this trend. In 2023, e-commerce in India saw a 30% growth, indicating a shift in consumer behavior. This model also offers wider selections and competitive pricing, driven by lower overhead costs.

Balancing Both Worlds

For businesses, the key is in balancing both models. A hybrid approach caters to diverse customer preferences. An innovative example is a Mumbai retailer who integrated QR codes in their physical store, enabling customers to scan and learn more about products online.

Comparative Overview of Store vs. Non-Store Retail

Here's a tabular comparison highlighting key differences:

Aspect Store Retail Non-Store Retail
Customer Experience Sensory engagement, personal interaction, immediate gratification. Shopping from anywhere, anytime convenience.
Economic Contribution Contributes to local employment (approx. 10% of workforce in India). Rapid growth (30% increase in e-commerce in India, 2023).
Product Interaction Ability to touch, feel, and try products. Often relies on product descriptions and reviews.
Customer Preference Preferred for certain items (65% of shoppers for clothes, as per 2023 survey). Increasingly popular for a wide range of products.
Business Model Requires physical space, higher overhead costs. Lower overhead costs, wider reach.
Local Impact Supports local economy, community-centric. Less direct local economic impact, but broader market access.
Adaptation Innovating with technology integration (e.g., in-store QR codes). Continuously evolving platforms and delivery methods.

In summary, the retail terrain is characterized by the unique yet harmonious functions of store-based and non-store retailing. Store retail, celebrated for its tactile experience and instant satisfaction, remains a favored choice for many shoppers, especially for items where physical interaction is key. Conversely, non-store retail has transformed the way we shop through its unparalleled ease and extensive scope, propelled by the expansion of digital platforms.


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