Sustainable Energy Management for Grocers

This is a FMI authored article by Marjorie DePuy, Senior Director, Supply Chain and Sustainability, FMI.

Recently, we recognized FMI member companies making a difference with sustainable refrigerant management through the EPA’s GreenChill program. The public-private partnership offers the food industry a way to implement more refrigerant management. For store operators concerned about implementing costly new systems and procedures, there are many low or no-cost options to tackle energy leakage and manage refrigeration costs

Why Make The Change?

Many food retailers are already committed to energy reduction. FMI’s 2020 The Food Retailing Industry Speaks report finds 72 percent of food retailers now have quantifiable goals for energy use reduction.

The opportunity remains for more of the food industry to commit to energy reduction.

Still, the opportunity remains for more of the food industry to commit to energy reduction. Grocery retail chains that are effective in measuring operational sustainability at the store level find that their actions save between $75,000 to $100,000 per year per store. Even the most well-operated stores still have opportunities to save money or resources, which is more crucial now than ever. According to Energy Star, when a grocery store reduces electrical costs by $1, it is the equivalent to the bottom line of increasing sales by $18, so reducing costs by $15,000 has the same benefit of increasing sales by $270,000.  

Five Simple Energy Management Changes You Can Make

We’ve talked regularly about these topics with industry experts including Catrina Damrell and Peter Cooke, leaders in grocery sustainability who formerly ran the Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program at Manomet. Peter is now leading grocery sustainability programs at Ratio Institute, the new home for the GSC.  

They shared five quick, no-cost tips that could generate a cost savings of $15,000 and help make a store more sustainable: 

  1. Turn off one heat wrapping machine (or any other appliance usually left on overnight).
  2. Fix one leaky gasket from one walk-in freezer.
  3. Ensure that walk-in and other doors are closed after use.
  4. Turn out the vending machine light from the break room.
  5. Clear air-curtain vents on open produce, meat, and dairy cases.

If you are still working on your energy reduction goals, look to EPA’s GreenChill program and to the many FMI members offering support on energy management.