Post from: bloomberg.com
Wall Street finally figured out its ice cream order. It was only a matter of time.
Private equity funds and institutional investors have cornered a huge chunk of America’s $6 billion cold-storage market, according to this fascinating deep-dive from Prashant Gopal. It’s an early, esoteric bet on the growth of grocery delivery and it’s sure to age well.
Not surprisingly, the new owners have tuned these chilly warehouses up, improving product flow and dangling bigger discounts for the larger, less volatile customers that dominate the center of the grocery store. Smaller, scrappier food startups have been asked to pay more or squeezed out entirely.
Growth, while great, is tricky to plan for. And building a cold storage facility costs three times as much as a traditional food warehouse, so the supply/demand relationship in the cold storage market is about as liquid as the Breyers inside.
This is all sound business blocking and tackling for the new wave of warehouse owners. It’s also, however, pretty squarely at odds with how people, increasingly, are eating these days—a concerted bent toward fresher, local, small-batch brands. The three-month old Klondike bar is out; the days-old pint of Coolhaus “Cereal Dreams” is in. There’s even a corner of the venture-capital world focused on finding the next KIND bar or Annie’s Mac & Cheese.