Part one: Retail cold storage – fresh food, less waste, more profit.

When working in the retail sector, it is important to keep on top of correct cold storage procedures and health and safety. Here are a few simple tips that could save you money as well as providing the best fresh products for your customers.

Keeping Food Fresh

Recommended commercial food storage temperatures.

Cooked and raw products in storage should never be stacked near or on top of each other. Even with appropriate packaging there is still a large risk of cross-contamination and therefore should be avoided. With refrigerated containers, this is even more of a risk as the produce is stored at a lower temperature which in turn makes it more prone to leakage and bacterial growth. It is also vital to remember that there are issues with fruits, vegetables and meat products as they all have differences in cold storage temperatures and therefore should not be packed together in the same unit.

Reduce Down-time

Produce should always be stacked in a way that allows the circulation of cold air – regardless of the product. It is not recommended to double stack produce as this will result in a longer freezing/ cooling times and speeds up of the growth of bacteria. Foodstuffs that are tightly packed have a reduction in shelf life which in turn leads to a loss of profit.

Stock rotation is also very important when storing many types of food. ‘Best before’ labels are imperative as a way of following rotational procedures. This minimizes wastage and ensures that products with the shortest shelf life are dealt with first.

Quality and Safety

There are basic procedures in which you can follow, such as: minimizing contamination by avoiding handling different types of produce, wearing gloves and following correct hand washing techniques, keeping cold storage units sterile and disinfecting containers regularly, and routinely checking cold store temperatures to ensure product does not become affected with bacterial growth.


The minimum of one thermometer should be clearly displayed if a cold store is smaller than 10m3. When using bigger cold stores and blast freezing units, a monitoring device needs to be fitted to ensure temperatures stay at the correct levels.


All of these tips if followed will help create less waste, deliver quality products to the customer and as a result improve your profit margin.

For more advice on retail refrigeration storage, contact our team on 02920 861627 or email us at