With summer nearly upon us, at this time of year fridges and chillers are a more important area than ever for supermarkets, Co-ops and convenience store chains. But for today’s multiple grocers this equipment really needs to stay in focus all year round.
It’s vital for stores to present an attractive shopping environment in which it’s easy for consumers to find the products they want and which leaves them wanting to visit again and again. At the same time store managers have to achieve maximum energy efficiency and control their energy costs. And it’s also essential to be aware of, and comply with, the new regulations about the refrigerants used in these systems.
As we hear from SCHOTT, the specialist glass manufacturer, the trend to add doors to chiller cabinets in convenience format stores is building momentum. This helps save energy while protecting the products on sale in a controlled environment. Importantly for shoppers, adding doors to chillers also creates a “warmer” aisle, encouraging them to stay longer, but up to now this has been an issue by creating a barrier to seeing the products.
SCHOTT’s Termofrost® frameless chiller doors are ‘nearly invisible,’ in the company’s words and give an unobstructed view of the product, wherever it is presented on the shelf, enabling shoppers to find products faster. The new doors give energy savings of up to 65 per cent compared to open multideck cabinets and can be retrofitted to installed refrigerated units.
The Carrefour store in Villepreux, France has been using SCHOTT’s Termafrost swing doors on its chillers since July 2015. Store manager Thierry Barbier says there is no longer an ice age in his chilled goods area. His customers are happy with the more comfortable temperatures, while the energy consumption for the chilled area as a whole is down over 30 percent.
As well as having the right equipment in their stores, grocery retailers also need to check with their refrigeration partners to ensure they are keeping up to date with the refrigerants that their systems run on. As our article in this issue from the British Refrigeration Association, the UK leading industry body in this important area makes clear, the main concerns in this area arise from the F Gas Regulations, which came into force in January 2015. It is important for retailers to talk to their refrigerant suppliers to put plans in place for dealing with the changes. BRA offers a free guide downloadable from their web site.