Cold Storage

Potato cold storage: Preserving quality and extending shelf life


Cold storage in India is still in its early stages with significant potential for growth and profitability. The demand for cold storage is high, particularly for vegetables and fruits, and expanding the cold storage business would contribute to reducing wastage. Although there has been a reduction of around 25% in wastage, it is worth noting that more than 40% of the existing cold storage facilities have a capacity of less than 1000MT.

Proper storage of fruits and vegetables after harvesting is crucial to prevent spoilage and wastage. When there is a shortage of cold storage facilities, it results in the deterioration and wastage of products. The lack of adequate cold storage leads to a scarcity of fresh produce for consumption. Therefore, preserving fresh fruits and vegetables and extending their shelf life is an essential and unavoidable requirement.

What is potato cold storage?

Potato cold storage refers to the practice of storing potatoes in a controlled environment to prevent spoilage. To avoid moisture buildup and subsequent spoilage, it is important to ensure proper airflow during storage. Instead of using sealed containers without ventilation, potatoes should be stored in paper bags or open bowls that allow for free air circulation. Lidded glassware or zipped plastic bags should be avoided for storage.

When potatoes are cooked and cooled, they are beneficial for gut health due to their starch content. This starch serves as a food source for bacteria in the gut. As potatoes contain sugars, they become easily digestible and provide nourishment to gut microbes when cooled.

Cold storage of potatoes at low temperatures helps increase their shelf life by reducing sprouting. At low temperatures, the rate of respiration in potatoes decreases up to a certain limit, resulting in preserved potato tubers.

Government Support

The cold storage sector is being supported through financial assistance, with the Indian government offering subsidies and bank arrangements for loans to establish cold storage businesses. Traditional cold storage business in India holds immense potential but requires effective management and planning. Making wise and prompt decisions can lead to success.

Currently, only around 2% of agricultural products in India have access to cold storage facilities, resulting in a significant disparity between demand and supply. Multi-product cold storage facilities typically start with a capacity of 6000 tons, costing around Rs 5 crore excluding the land cost. A cold storage unit requires approximately one acre of land for every 5000 MT capacity. Land acquisition costs are a major expense in this business; however, renting land can alleviate the investment burden.

While cold storage facilities are less common in India, efforts are being made with government support to increase their number, especially in agricultural and fishing-intensive regions. The lack of cold storage facilities leads to wastage of perishable goods despite their abundant production and availability.

Cold storage is essential for preserving perishable goods and preventing damage and wastage. Optimizing power consumption helps maximize efficiency and reduce electricity bills, with cold storage facilities operating on diesel generators or hybrid solar systems. Despite the substantial investment required, the cold storage business in India offers high returns and presents significant growth opportunities.

India has ample scope for the development and expansion of the cold storage business.

Potat0-based processing plants

Potato-based processing plants utilize the solid components or dry matter of potatoes. The appeal of using round or oval tubers for making potato chips is significant. The dry matter content exceeds 20% while having a sugar content of less than 100g/150mg. Potatoes are a major crop in both developed and developing nations and play a vital role in consumption. The demand for mashed potatoes, frozen products, and French fries is on the rise due to urbanization and changing lifestyles.

When it comes to processing potatoes into French fries and chips, factors such as shape, size, texture, and dry matter are crucial. Potatoes with higher solid components are more efficient and preferable for gravity-based processing. The reduction in sugar content primarily involves glucose and fructose in the potatoes. Naturally, the quality of potatoes is evident in their appearance. Indian potato quality can vary during processing, so careful attention is essential when handling such items.

Keeping harvested potatoes fresh

To maintain freshness and support potato-based processing plants, it is crucial to prepare potatoes before harvest and refrain from watering them after mid-August to allow the vines to die. Clean the potatoes before storage, removing soil and washing if necessary. Ensure they are completely dry before storing and minimize exposure to light during the cleaning process.

Storage temperatures below 45 degrees lead to sweetening and increased oiliness and darkness in fried products compared to higher-temperature storage. Lower temperatures result in sweetening, while higher temperatures cause sprouting, shriveling, and decay.

Proper storage is essential for well-matured potatoes to remain in good condition for seven to eight months, with temperatures kept below 45 degrees. However, after two to three months, potatoes may start to shrivel and sprout.

Author – Yogesh Dahiya
Source –

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