Lead Forensics

Supermarket Refrigeration & Climate Change

Supermarket refrigeration is making a worrying contribution to climate change. Approximately 25% of the carbon footprint comes from supermarkets as a result of the cooling gases in their refrigeration systems. 

The main problem with supermarkets’ refrigeration systems is the Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These are super greenhouse gases that inevitably leak into the atmosphere, contributing to long term global warming.

Research has revealed that supermarkets are the biggest source of HFC emissions in the UK. However, large supermarket chains in the UK have agreed to phase out the use of HFCs by making investments in new equipment and are pursuing a range of different technologies and strategies.

One of the new strategies will be adding transparent doors to open display refrigeration systems. By having a door on refrigerators, the amount of HFC gas needed to keep the food cold would be far less. 

Aldi has already reduced its carbon footprint by more than 55% since 2012 and has recently introduced refrigeration doors in all of its newly refurbished stores across the UK. 

Making it a standard procedure to add refrigerator doors is another step on their journey to reducing energy consumption. 

Tesco is another well-known supermarket chain that is making sustainable changes, including the installation of aerofoil refrigeration technology. This technology is designed to keep cold air inside the refrigerators and reduce how much escapes. 

In 2020/21 Tesco reduced their amount of greenhouse emissions by 54%, exceeding their 2020 milestone. 

Despite this, some supermarkets are reluctant to add refrigerator doors and make other changes to their stores because they are concerned that it will affect their sales. This is because some supermarkets have seen that when refrigerator doors have been introduced impulsive purchases have been reduced,

Although this may have an impact on supermarket sales, less impulsive purchasing is likely to have a positive impact on the environment. Most impulsive purchases often lead to food waste, which is understandably bad for the environment.

Nevertheless, the HFC phase-down is an opportunity for food retailers to improve their sustainability further by reviewing their refrigeration systems and exploring other options available

At Aircon Group, we believe it is important to have a good refrigeration design whilst still making considerations to the environment. 

For more information on refrigeration design and how it can benefit your business, give us a call on 01642 249026 (North East office) or 01709 367001 (Yorkshire office).