A cooler box is a portable device that helps keep perishables cool and fresh for a long time while preserving vaccines and biological samples. It is a non-mechanically closed box commonly used to store food and beverages. It keeps the temperature low of the product or ingredients. Cooler boxes are designed to isolate the product.

The cooler box is highly portable so they can be easily moved from one place to another. They are usually used on holidays, vacations, and picnics. In addition, they are used in regions where hot summers are there. To keep the temperature low, cold compresses or ice cubes are placed inside the box. As cold packs keep the temperature cool for a longer duration, they are generally preferred over ice cubes. In the healthcare industry, cooler boxes are also used to store drugs in a cool environment.

Market growth drivers

The growth of the pharmaceutical sector is driving the growth of the cooling box market globally. Pharmaceutical products are usually temperature sensitive and require low temperatures or continuous freezing. According to the regulations of the World Health Organization, pharmaceutical products such as drugs, medicines, syringes, and others are transported or stored strictly in a temperature-controlled environment in insulated or closed boxes.

It is mandatory for all pharmaceutical manufacturers, importers, and logistics & storage partners worldwide to comply with these laws when handling these types of medicines. Furthermore, increased Research and Development (R&D) investment by state governments and major players in the pharmaceutical industry is driving growth in cooler box markets across the region. For instance, in October 2022, CSafe announced the launch of its new advanced reusable pallet shipper, CSafeAPS.

The product is designed to provide thermal protection at refrigerated and frozen temperatures, which provides continuous protection for more than 120 hours.

Market restraints

Rising problems related to the impact of packaging waste on the environment have caused governments worldwide to adopt firm policies. For instance, the Indian government updated its Plastic Waste Management Norms on June 26, 2020.

Standard tests are also conducted to validate the ability of packaging systems to maintain the temperature range mandated by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) standards, which are focused on the packaging, storage, and transportation of goods. Thus, environmental issues and proper disposal of waste act as restraints for the growth of the cooler box market.

Potential of insulating packaging

Strong economic development in China and India has provided the stimulus for growth in the food and beverage, healthcare, and chemical industries. Emerging economies such as Brazil, India, and China provide significant growth opportunities for the insulating packaging industry.

Growth in these sectors has contributed to increasing demand for packaging a wide range of products such as meat, fish, and poultry, among other perishable goods. This has led to cooler box manufacturers exploring the untapped potential of developing countries to optimize their market share.

Challenges in the market

Raw materials used for refrigeration include plastic, glass, paper, and metal. Most of these raw materials are crude oil-based derivatives, which are subject to the risk of changes in supply. Rising crude oil prices are a major challenge for the production of polymer products such as polyurethane, polyethylene, and polystyrene. Cooler box is usually made of polymer materials made from petrochemical products. Therefore, changes in oil prices are expected to affect polymer foam prices in the future.

Market segmentation

Based on the type, the cooler box market is segmented into reusable and disposable. The Reusable segment is expected to hold a significant share during the forecast period. Reusable cooler boxes are more popular than other types of boxes due to their high performance and hard shell. They are more cost-effective and more durable than disposable materials. These factors lead to the demand for reusable containers. In addition, reusable coolers are frequently used in the pharmaceutical industry where temperature control of products is important.

Based on the raw material, the cooler box market is segmented into PU foam, expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, expanded polypropylene, and others.

The PU foam segment is expected to hold a significant share of the market during the forecast period. PU foam provides the lowest thermal conductivity compared to other insulation materials, making it easier to save space by using less insulation thickness to achieve the same insulation efficiency.

Cooling boxes made of PU foam are particularly important in space-limited cold chain logistics. The advantages of PU foam such as thermal conductivity and thermal insulation efficiency have increased its demand. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of foam coolers reduces cost benefits for end users. As a result, it has emerged as the preferred packaging solution used by end users for the regular storage and transportation of their products.

Based on the end users, the market is segmented into pharmaceuticals, food & beverages, and others. The food & beverage segment is projected to hold a significant share of the market during the forecast period. The food and beverage industry faces serious challenges when it comes to transportation.

The main concerns are related to food safety, environmental sustainability, storage, and handling. During transportation, food must be kept at a certain temperature. Exposure to heat may damage the product. Thus, cooler boxes can control the temperature and store food without waste. Therefore, the demand for cooler boxes in the food & beverage industry has increased significantly over the time.

Prominent players

Out of many big and small players worldwide, the following companies are maintaining their big presence in the global market today: Sonoco Thermosafe, B Medical System, Blowkings, ISONOVA, Eurobox Logistics, Softbox Systems Ltd., va-Q-tec AG, Coldchain Technologies Inc., Sofrigam Group, FEURER GmbH, Igloo, Wild Coolers, K2 Coolers, Cool Ice Box Company and Bison Coolers.

Recent developments

In April 2021, B Medical Systems, the Luxembourg-based international leader in medical-grade refrigeration and vaccine cold chain equipment, announced that it is partnering with Cold Chain Technologies, one of the most comprehensive providers of reusable and single-use thermal packaging solutions for the shipment of temperature-sensitive material, to bring end-to-end thermal shipping and medical storage solutions to the life sciences market.

In November 2022, Sonoco, a global leader in diversified packaging, planned to further expand Sonopost corner post manufacturing with the new facility in Bursa, Turkey.

In March 2022, Cold Chain Technologies, LLC a portfolio company of Aurora Capital Partners and a leading global provider of thermal packaging solutions for the transportation of temperature-sensitive products for the life sciences industry, announced that it had acquired Packaging Technology Group, LLC a leading provider of sustainable, curbside-recyclable thermal packaging solutions for the life sciences industry.

In October 2022, CSafe Global, the largest provider of a complete range of active and passive temperature-controlled shipping solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, announced the launch of its new advanced reusable pallet shipper, CSafe APS.

In October 2022, AZENTA, INC. announced the acquisition of B Medical Systems S.Á R.L and its subsidiaries, a market leader in temperature-controlled storage and transportation solutions that enable the delivery of life-saving treatments to more than 150 countries worldwide.

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