New in-store fridge technology has enabled Waitrose & Partners to reduce its energy use for refrigeration by more than 40%, the supermarket has claimed.
The announcement has been made following the implementation of new open-fronted fridges that retain air within the cabinet, avoiding cold air spill and wasted energy.
The product, called Next Generation Refrigeration and developed by Wirth Research, claims to require less energy to keep food at the optimum temperature, and therefore significantly reducing heating bills.
Waitrose has now equipped four of its shops with the technology in Chesham, Evesham, Dorchester and Worthing will a planned roll out across the estate in due course alongside further energy saving innovations.
The technology was developed using 3D modelling on fluid dynamics simulations that are used in the motorsport industry, and follows a retrofitting by Waitrose and Partners of another shelf-edge product earlier this year which also produced energy savings. But this new product is developed with the fridge and the manufacturing stage to drive further energy efficiencies, which means it has grown the energy saving from 25 to 40%.
The company claim that the move, while still leaving the fridge open, would achieve a similar, if not better performance than by bolting on sliding or pull-out doors onto fridge fronts, which it claims act as a barrier for the shopper.
Waitrose & Partners’ senior manager of technical services Jim Burnett, said: “This new technology takes the energy efficiency of our refrigeration to another level, delivering significant environmental benefits while helping to create warmer, more comfortable surroundings for our customers and Partners.”
President and founder of Wirth Research and a former Formula 1 team owner, Nick Wirth, said: “When NGR fridges are fitted throughout a store and the plant supplying the fridges is modified to suit, the capital expenditure reduction of the whole installation actually pays for NGR technology.
“NGR can be easily integrated into any OEM open fridge cabinet, and it is our aim that all fridge manufacturers ultimately sign up to this technology.”