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Consumer-driven Trends Reshape Food Retail

Dean Landeche_Blog Dean Landeche | Vice President of Marketing, Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from Chain Store Age, entitled “Food Everywhere!” Click here to read the article in its entirety.


We’ve covered the recent shift in focus for food retailers: many are increasingly leaning toward experiential retail and offering fresh, made-to-order food offerings in traditional, new and sometimes unconventional ways. While new and engaging tactics to improve consumer shopping experiences offer many benefits, there are operational considerations to be made. Here are four emerging trends that have developed as food retail has evolved.

Blurred lines in retail roles

The made-to-order food preparation model has changed what consumers expect to see from restaurants, grocers and, occasionally, non-food retailers. Supermarket operators can no longer get by with sandwiches and a “hot bar” in the deli section; consumers expect more. Enter the “grocerant,” a place where consumers can buy their groceries, eat a freshly prepared meal or take one home with them.

Restaurant brands are extending their reaches by deploying temporary kiosks, food trucks and other mobile formats, allowing them to participate in public events and expand their offerings for consumers. Convenience stores are also dipping into this trend, toying with the idea of c-store dining, while non-food retailers are latching onto the trend through seasonal promotions and in-store cooking demonstrations.

Experiential retail is here to stay

The made-to-order food trend is not a flash in the pan and continues to keep consumers coming back. Experiential retail has not only transformed the consumer experience in traditional food retailers, but also food courts/halls. Rather than traditional fast food offerings and a focus on convenience, food courts/halls have shifted toward higher-end, artisan dining options to present a more upscale dining experience. This trend lies in the studies that show Americans spending more money dining out than on groceries. Experiential retail is using those numbers to the advantage of retailers.

Utilizing new technology to keep food safe

As food retailer offerings become increasingly more complex, so does ensuring the safety of that food. Rather than focusing solely on meeting regulations and achieving compliance with food codes, equal emphasis is now being put on maintaining food safety to preserve the consumer experience. New hand-held thermometers, advanced sensors, and automated temperature monitoring and management systems are granting retailers the opportunities to deliver more consistent temperature control and simultaneously protect both their consumers and brand reputations.

Facility optimization improves consumer experience and sustainability

Aside from providing premium dining options, creating an inviting, comfortable and safe environment for consumers is key to experiential retail. The next generation of facility management and building automation systems helps ensure the reliable performance of coolers, freezers, HVAC and lighting services. This allows operators to highlight featured areas of the facility, control temperature in traditionally cold or warm aisles, and create ideal dining areas. This new technology also addresses sustainability goals by improving energy efficiencies and reclaiming heat for reuse and/or waste stream reduction.

According to a recent report from Cushman and Wakefield, food-related retail is responsible for the most aggressive retail growth within the past few years. That growth does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. It is crucial for food retailers, traditional and non-traditional alike, to remain up to date on current trends and adjust their service offerings to maximize the consumer shopping experience and ensure food safety.

Using the Sun to Keep Food Cool

JoeSummers Joe Summers | Product Planner, Transport & Commercial Controls

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog is based on an article published in Refrigerated Transporter titled “Rayfrigeration’ TRU generates impressive results in real-world testing.” Read the full article here.


Effective refrigerated transportation is essential to the cold chain. If we can’t keep perishable food at a steady temperature from point A to point B, the results are spoiled food, loss of revenue and empty shelves. The emissions produced by the high-polluting, small diesel engines on trucks trying to keep food cool have always seemed to be a necessary evil. However, those days may be numbered.

The new “Rayfrigeration” transport refrigeration unit (TRU) from eNow is the first zero-emissions, commercial-use TRU capable of making deliveries in urban environments. Over five months of testing, it boasted massive emissions reductions.

Utilizing two forms of energy storage, eutectic medium (cold plates) and a high-capacity auxiliary battery system, the Rayfrigeration TRU gets charged when the vehicle is plugged in overnight and then, while the truck is on a delivery route, uses power from eNow’s solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which are mounted on the truck’s roof.

Not only is this unit projected to reduce operations and maintenance costs by up to 90 percent, it also reduced the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of a delivery truck over a four-day period from 2,525 to 159 pounds; nitrous oxide (NOX) emissions were reduced from 7,162 grams to 1.

The ability to cut CO2 emissions by 86 percent, lower NOX emissions by 98 percent and slash particle matter emissions by 97 percent is a groundbreaking step in reducing the cold chain’s ecological footprint. As businesses and organizations continue to develop their own sustainability initiatives and the EPA proceeds with stricter regulations, innovative technology like this will be at the forefront of industry priorities.

Emerson at THAIFEX 2018

IvanFullin Ivan Fullin | Director, Cargo Solutions Asia

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

SumanDe Suman De | Southeast Asia Leader, Cargo Solutions Asia

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

For the first time ever, Emerson is set to participate in Asia’s most influential Food and Beverage Trade Fair; THAIFEX – World of Food Asia, from 29th of May to the 2nd of June 2018. With over 80,000 square meters of exhibit space, and an estimated 25,000 trade visitors, and exhibitors from over 125 countries. THAIFEX has been a yearly spectacle for the food and beverage industry in Asia.

As a leading solutions provider, Emerson is committed to uphold food safety, and support a sustainable cold chain industry. Emerson Cargo Solutions presents GO Real-Time, which offers live monitoring and reporting of your products’ temperature and location, from anywhere in the world. All data are encrypted and uploaded to the oversight cloud-based monitoring portal, where alerts and status reports are sent to you via email or text message.

[Approved] ThaiFex 2018 FB Cover Photo_REV_05072018

Emerson understands the importance of data. With GO Real-Time, you will have all the information that you need to make critical decisions on your cold chain.

Our full line of temperature logging and monitoring solutions will allow you to know the condition of your perishable goods, through the cold chain.

Our real-time temperature trackers can be accessed anytime, anywhere, ensuring only the freshest and safest products reach your customers.

Participation in the THAIFEX will provide Emerson a solid platform to present innovative solutions to its delegates and visitors, from food distribution, food preparation, and to food consumption.

We invite everyone to visit us at THAIFEX 2018, we are at Challenger 1, Booth number XX35. See you there!

Beyond IoT to Digital Transformation in the Modern Supermarket

Ed_McKiernan Ed McKiernan | President, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Accelerate America recently published an article about how the Internet of Things helped a New York- based supermarket, Price Chopper, facilitate data acquisition and operate more efficiently. This blog provides additional perspective on that article and the evolution from IoT to true digital transformation.


It’s nearly impossible to discuss best practices within the supermarket industry without bringing up the subject of the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is a network of electronically connected systems and devices (refrigeration cases, ovens and other facility systems) enabling cross-platform data sharing through embedded electronics, sensors, software and network connectivity.

IoT-connected facility technologies can remotely monitor store equipment which, in turn, provides system data and equipment analysis. This can then be used to generate reports and create an operationally efficient ecosystem of devices and machinery.

Initially, these connected technologies were used to set up operating alerts and alarms that indicated system faults or equipment failure. Then, after more sophisticated sensors and controllers were engineered, the focus shifted to advanced analytics, which allow facility managers to predict system failures and other problems hours or even days in advance. As a result, retailers have improved system reliability and energy efficiencies while preventing costly equipment failures.

Beyond facility and asset management, IoT-based technologies are applied every day throughout the food supply and distribution chain. From the farm through processing, transportation, distribution and — ultimately — retail outlets, a broad range of connected technologies helps extend and ensure food safety. They validate and manage temperature, humidity and other conditions, track transportation time and location, automate record-keeping and improve other handling processes. This sophisticated cold chain management helps maintain fresh food to the point of consumption, reduces food waste, improves food safety, and drives compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other regulations.

Now, the challenge is to move from the functional benefits of IoT to the true digital transformation of businesses. In this emerging state, businesses rely on IoT as a foundational element for rethinking and reinventing their processes, while also redesigning their physical presences.

Price Chopper, a supermarket chain based in Schenectady, N.Y., is a real-world example of how food retailers are engaging in this transition. An early adopter of IoT solutions, Price Chopper installed electronic expansion valves (EEVs) on its case controllers, then deployed multiple temperature, pressure and valve sensors to gather data on EEVs, defrost, lighting and fans. The data revealed opportunities for energy optimization and provided Price Chopper’s facility managers with performance insights to predictive analytics.

The success of this effort prompted Price Chopper to install sensors in every energy-consuming load in its stores — including refrigeration, lighting, ovens and ventilation systems — and link them to a building control system. The initiative produced a tremendous amount of data, which allowed managers to fully optimize energy efficiency while quickly alerting them of servicing leaks and other malfunctions.

Executive leaders at Price Chopper have indicated that they’re planning to extend their IoT initiatives with the goal of meeting the organization’s other operational objectives.

To learn more about how supermarkets are leveraging the power of IoT, read the full article here on pages 26–27.

As you read the article, think about how foundational IoT can enable a reinvented approach to the grocery environment: transforming consumers’ shopping experiences, building customer loyalty and creating new business opportunities. Can facility and system data be consolidated with and correlated to other information within the retailer’s domain? If so, how could that be used to create new operational insights and profit opportunities? What data can be harvested from food’s long journey to stores, combined with store traffic information, and blended together with consumer preferences or menu trends to attract shoppers more frequently to their favorite retailer?

Those are among the possibilities as we move from foundational IoT to true digital transformation of retail.

Making Sense of the Current Regulatory Landscape

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article posted in RSES Journal, entitled “Mapping the Refrigerant Regulation Landscape.” Click here to read the article in its entirety.


Waters continue to rage in the current refrigerant regulatory landscape — and the tide doesn’t seem to be letting up. Starting with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) introduction of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Rule 20 in 2015, working up to a plethora of plot twists in the latter half of 2017 and now into 2018, much of the industry has been caught off guard and making on-the-spot adjustments to their operations. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more prominent developments.

DC Circuit Court vacates SNAP Rule 20

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decided that the EPA had exceeded its authority to require the replacement of HFCs under the Clean Air Act, Section 612. This ruling elicited a number of different responses, including several parties filing petitions for a rehearing en banc of the case, but the court announced that it would deny the intervenor/respondents’ petitions for a rehearing.

More recently, a group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill called the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. If it’s passed, it would entitle the EPA to phase down HFCs used in refrigeration and air conditioning in consultation with the industry, operating in accordance with guidelines set by the 2015 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which the U.S. has yet to ratify.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to vacate Rule 20 as initially enacted does not necessarily signify the end of the EPA SNAP nor represent the global/state legislative efforts yet underway to reduce greenhouse gases. In fact, there are some promising initiatives taking shape.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans big phase-downs

CARB’s initial proposal to preserve the federal framework in new retail food refrigeration, food dispensing equipment, air-conditioning chillers and refrigeration vending machines will take effect in 2019. CARB’s second proposal plans to prohibit refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or greater in new stationary refrigeration systems containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant beginning in 2021.

Canada ratifies Kigali amendment

This ruling, impacting stand-alone refrigeration, centralized refrigeration and chillers, enacts a significant HFC phase-down schedule that will take place over the next few decades. Canada was among the first countries to ratify the Kigali amendment.

E.U. pushes for lower F-gas emissions

The E.U. enacted regulation to control fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) emissions, including HFCs, in 2015; it has yet to stop. The next step of its phase-down schedule, set to take place later this year, will lower the consumption quota from the previous 93 percent of the original baseline to 63 percent.

Energy mandates also play a big role

Energy mandates by the Department of Energy (DOE) are also causing turmoil within the industry, specifically impacting three classes of equipment: commercial refrigeration equipment (CRE), automatic commercial ice makers (ACIM), and walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). CRE have been subject to 2,086 percent energy reductions since March 2017, while ACIM must achieve 525 percent energy reductions; WICF must reach 3,037 percent reductions by 2020.

Opportunity for collaboration

Recent EPA rulings and DOE mandates have been set in place during different time frames, causing headaches for equipment manufacturers and end users alike. Recent regulatory developments present an opportunity to push for coordination and collaboration among all parties to create a more cohesive transition.

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