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What you can do to reduce costs in your retail business

According to the Food To Go Market Report 2023, it is expected that this year the food-to-go market in the UK will grow by 4.1% to £22.2 billion.

While it’s positive that the market is expanding, skyrocketing energy prices could overtake profits, unless businesses make adaptions to offset these higher bills.

But, what if True could help your retail business save money instantly on energy bills, and help you achieve sustainability goals? Keep reading below to see how.

Switching your refrigeration

Assessing your current refrigeration could be the answer to big savings for retail businesses. The average cost of electricity for business in 2023 is now 78.57 pence per kWh, which is almost a 350% increase when compared to 2021.

One way to cut costs is by reviewing the type of refrigeration installed in your retail business. Although commonly used at many ‘Grab & Go’ operator sites, open self-serve refrigerated cabinets are not the most energy-efficient cabinet option.

By switching to a more efficient refrigerator, such as glass door displays, you can begin benefiting from huge savings.

In the image below, we’ve compared energy use for an open self-serve refrigerator (or “multideck”), with a comparable size glass door unit. Immediately, you can see the huge difference in energy consumption:

Often, businesses have several retail refrigeration cabinets, meaning there’s even more wasted energy and costs when these inefficient products are multiplied.

Even well-known brands, such as the German supermarket chain Aldi, have already discovered the savings potential, with ALDI SÜD announcing in April 2023 that they are now choosing refrigeration units with glass doors.

In the UK, Aldi’s ongoing efforts to minimise its carbon emissions and climate impact include installing fridge doors as standard in its new and newly refurbished stores, following a successful trial.

By making the switch to glass-door refrigeration, you can fight back against rising energy costs and improve profitability.

True’s glass-door refrigeration

Switching to glass door display refrigeration doesn’t just mean reducing energy bills, it can also enhance turnover by increasing the perceived value of the products inside.

True’s TVMs or ‘Visual Merchandisers’ feature very thin framed glass doors, creating a barrier to help maintain the strict temperature range needed for packaged food retail, whilst also operating efficiently. They also aid in showcasing your products, so customers can see all of your offerings easily while being enhanced with our in-house manufactured LED lighting.

If you’d like to find out more benefits of switching to glass door refrigeration, you can read our blog.

Commercial legislation

As a responsible retail brand, to achieve your business goals, you’ll need to understand what refrigerant gas is in your equipment and the regulations surrounding it.

Since 2021, both open and glass-fronted refrigerated retail merchandisers have been required to meet Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), with different requirements depending on whether the cabinet is holding perishable food goods or just beverages.

This energy rating isn’t set by the manufacturer. In Europe, every fridge manufacturer is required to send the results of their energy ratings to the EU government, who will verify this rating.

By checking this, you can make sustainable choices for your retail business when choosing your next commercial refrigeration. To check this, you can use Energy Label’s tool to compare energy labels for the UK and Europe.

At True, we make it really easy to find out about our energy rating for applicable products. On each of our product webpages, we list all of the technical details, including energy efficiency charge (EEC) and even allow you to download an energy label. Per the legal regulations, they are also listed on the EPREL site.

Meet your sustainability goals

Consumers are focusing more and more on the environmental impact of their decisions, including the places they eat or shop at. To get ahead of the curve, it’s worth considering the environmental impact of your refrigeration.

Looking to decarbonize your operations means being aware of environmentally unfriendly refrigerant gasses. Many gasses that have been traditionally used are now banned from sale in new equipment under the F-Gas Regulation.

We first began testing R290 Hydrocarbons (HC) in 2007 to help operators get a head start on being more environmentally responsible. Since then, True has perfected a sustainable and environmentally-friendly product platform, we call Natural Refrigerant.

As a result of this investment, we now produce several of the most energy-efficient commercial refrigeration products on the market. For more information on our commitment to sustainability, visit our website: https://truerefrigeration.eu/sustainability-eu/

Further ways to reduce costs in your retail business

Below, we’ve included some other ways you can look to cut costs in your retail business.

Ensuring your stock stays fresh

One way to reduce costs is to ensure your stock stays fresh for longer, reducing produce waste and getting the most from your ingredients.

This heavily comes down to the kind of refrigeration your business has, and whether it stores your goods at the correct temperature. In retail, this is especially important, otherwise you run the risk of not only food spoilage, but making your customers ill. How many times have you walked into a shop with an open drinks fridge and found the bottles warm inside?

When purchasing refrigeration equipment for your business, if you’re merchandising packaged food goods, make sure you check EPREL that it’s certified for food (i.e. states Type of refrigerating appliance: Supermarket cabinet and not Beverage Cooler) to ensure it can maintain the strict, low temperatures required.

Maintaining your equipment

Having reliable refrigeration is key in a retail business, and to ensure this, it needs to be properly maintained. Repair costs can be a considerable expense on top of a possible loss in earnings and wastage of goods.

Cheaper refrigeration is at an increased risk of breaking down because, over time, the parts inside it won’t be able to keep up with the demands of a retail business.

One way of maintaining your equipment is by properly assessing it regularly, checking for any blocked vents and whether you need to replace your door seals – as these are integral to your refrigerator being able to maintain a constant temperature.

It’s also important to have warranty in place. If your refrigerator isn’t working not only does this mean downtime, but potentially also means spoiled food and less product available to be sold. At True, we offer a five year parts and labour warranty as standard on all of our products.

What can True do to help you?

We want to help you make the right choice that will benefit your retail business in the long term, save you money and improve sustainability, which is why we’ve developed the industry’s first Energy and Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

Most units that have been in retail businesses for more than a couple of years are often off the current Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) scale – in terms of consumption. That’s why we created our calculator, so you can compare operating costs.

If you’re looking to switch from your open-door cabinets to one of our glass door displays, by using the numbers from energy labels (which refrigeration manufacturers are legally required to publish), we can provide an estimated lifetime electrical savings that could be achieved.

Our calculator can also provide relatable Greenhouse Gas equivalency metrics, to help you achieve your carbon reduction goals.

Do know what your current refrigeration is costing you to run? In the current climate, it might be a lot. It also might be unnecessary.

Visit our website here to try out our energy cost calculator and see how you can reduce costs in your retail business: https://truerefrigeration.eu/energy-cost-calculator/

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