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Nomad Foods’ own study, which included products such as frozen fish and chicken, showed the temperature increase would have no impact on food safety

A global coalition attempting to change frozen food temperature standards in a bid to slash carbon emissions has received major backing in the UK from new member Nomad Foods.

The Birds Eye and Iglo manufacturer has officially joined the Move to –15°C, a group of high-profile companies from across the cold chain lobbying for the “outdated” frozen food temperature set point of –18°C to be increased by three degrees in efforts to cut emissions.

The group, which was launched at COP28 and whose goal is to cut carbon emissions as well as costs in the frozen food supply chain, is quickly garnering industry support.

In addition to manufacturers and logistics businesses, the movement is also in talks with UK retailers as it hopes to involve all representatives of the cold chain and scale its trials, according to chairman Thomas Eskesen.

Eskesen said having Nomad Foods join the coalition, which has more than doubled its membership since its launch last year, was a “milestone” that “helped take the coalition to the next level”.

This would “hopefully involve onboarding British supermarkets” too, which “stand to gain from the emissions savings” as much as suppliers, he said.

“Companies are focusing on Scope 3 emissions and the impact of their entire chain, and we have a very good fit with the retailers’ sustainability goals”, he told The Grocer.

Nomad’s backing comes as its own 18 month-long landmark study showed storing frozen food at –15°C – instead of the industry standard –18°C – can reduce freezer energy consumption by 10%-11% “without any noticeable impact on the safety, texture, taste or nutritional value of a product”.

The company’s CEO Stéfan Descheemaeker is now calling on other frozen manufacturers to join the industry coalition.

“We already know that frozen food compares very well against alternative preservation methods in terms of carbon footprint,” he said.

“The latest results of our study with Campden BRI underlines the critical role frozen food has in reducing the impact of the wider food industry on climate change.

“However, we can’t do this alone, which is why we are calling on other frozen food manufacturers to join us and the Move to –15°C coalition to ensure the full breadth of products within the frozen category are tested at higher temperatures.”

Nomad joins other key players within the food industry already in the coalition, including Danish Crown, logistics giant DP World, and the Global Cold Chain Alliance, which provides specialised cold chain advisory services to government agencies and other associations.

Move to –15°C was founded following the launch of an academic paper by experts from the Paris-based International Institute of Refrigeration and UK universities that showed the change in temperature could save 17.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent to the annual emissions of 3.8 million cars annually.

It could also create savings comparable to 8.6% of the UK’s annual energy consumption, and cut costs in the supply chain by at least 5% and in some areas by up to 12%.

The group’s initial aim is to gather support from as many food industry representatives as possible and facilitate action-driven trials that show the potential for savings the temperature change could have.

It will then focus on lobbying for regulatory changes. Eskesen said he believed UK regulators’ “forward-thinking” approach would allow them to “move quickly” in supporting the change to the decades-old industry standard.

“The [supply chain] technology to do this is much more mature now, but we can only do this if everybody acts in unison,” he said. “It’s a win-win across the chain.”