As we wrap up Farm to Frozen, I’m reminded why it is we started this series almost a year ago. At Yukon Real Estate, we found ourselves engaging in repeated discussions with food manufacturing supply chain managers about the very same real estate strategies in this series. Realizing the importance of these conversations, we felt compelled to give back to these supply chain professionals by offering a comprehensive overview of some of the more effective options, in an easily digestible format. It was our goal to help these professionals better navigate the various real estate strategies available to optimize their supply chain processes effectively.

If you’ve followed along with the series, it may have become evident to you that no single solution fits every situation. Being well versed in a wide array of available options enables a thorough and comprehensive investigation. However, there was a lot of ground to cover, and often I felt as though I wasn’t even scratching the surface. Real estate professionals often make an entire career out of any one of the strategies mentioned in the series. Candidly, I am sympathetic to real estate, logistics, and supply chain professionals that have to maintain a familiarity with each of these strategies in addition to their normal supply chain workload.

Because of the expanse of the real estate knowledge gap, a common theme throughout these tutorials has been the need to engage with market experts. In many cases, the expertise provided by brokers, attorneys, and real estate partners is priceless. These market participants often can be compensated in a success-fee only manner, and truly can align their incentives with the needs of growing food and beverage companies.

cold storage space
It is estimated the U.S. will need up to 100-million-square-feet of additional cold storage space in the coming years. Courtesy Getty Images

Looking back on the articles, there are two that seem to have struck a nerve the most. The first is about finding and selecting PRWs. It was a polarizing article in the sense that many customers find themselves in one of two camps. The first is finding any kind of cold storage solution within a market with generally no vacancy. The second has to make the decision to select between numerous operators when multiple options are available in a “softer” cold storage market. In either case, I would make the recommendation to consult with a market player like to advise on the best options.

The other article that has received the most attention was the June article about the RFP process. This “Holy Grail” strategy is one that many supply chain managers are realizing really is a no-lose proposition. Deploying a real estate partner to facilitate an RFP process for your commercial demand is such a savvy and favorable strategy to the underlying pallet customer, the food manufacturer, that it really should be a familiar tool in the tool belt for food manufacturers looking to obtain more cold storage.

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Farm to Frozen: Navigating the U.S. Cold Storage Climate

Top articles and final thoughts on the Farm to Frozen series.

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Looking ahead at the cold storage real estate landscape, I anticipate that despite rising costs, inflation, and election uncertainty, there will still be a relatively steady stream of proto-typical cold storage big-box development being delivered. Much of this product will be built speculatively. If you’re in need of straightforward cold storage, you might be in luck. There will be plenty of options to choose from and many start-up 3PLs/PRWs looking for customers. If, however, your need is more nuanced, perhaps processing of some sort, I anticipate the options will still be limited. That said, with the strategies outlined in this series, you should be better equipped to find the right solution for your business.

Of course, it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, I appreciate your time in reading these articles, and the work that you do for our food supply chain. Please reach out if there is a way for us to work together in the future.

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