Just as the Food Marketing Institute show in Las Vegas showcased a number of new innovations in supermarket technology, many of those trends are finding their way into supermarkets. They range from lighting to refrigerants to entire mechanical systems.

Here is a look at three recent projects.


Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market - a U.S. subsidiary of Tesco plc - is planning to have its medium temperature cases in its 159 stores retrofitted with LED lighting, a project made possible by the partnership of Nualight Ltd., a manufacturer of LED lighting for retail, and Kysor/Warren, a manufacturer of refrigerated cases.

According to a statement, the project marks an extension of both companies’ work with Tesco and “another step forward in their effort to offer food retailers a new choice in upgrading their refrigerated cases by creating more vibrant and brighter displays that are also energy efficient.” All meat, dairy, and fish cases will be upgraded to LED replacing the existing T5 fluorescent canopy and undershelf lighting. Fresh & Easy currently uses LED lighting in external signs and freezer cases.

“Nualight’s energy saving light bars and understanding of retail merchandising is already helping our corporation globally to reduce costs and meet its environmental objectives,” said Steve Hagen, who heads Fresh & Easy procurement. “Fresh & Easy is delighted to build on this work and our existing relationship with Kysor/Warren.” “Kysor/Warren is proud of our partnership with Nualight in creating this solution for our customer,” said Jim Knudsen, vice president of sales and marketing for Kysor/Warren. “It is an example of our ongoing commitment to listen, respond and deliver for our customers while providing an innovative approach to energy efficiency.”

“Nualight is obviously delighted with this Fresh & Easy decision, and it is a great endorsement of our strategic partnership with Kysor/Warren,” said Nualight VP Bruce Schneider, who heads the company’s operations in the United States.

“Our success retrofitting the group’s Tesco stores internationally led to this opportunity, and this newest assignment provides a valuable springboard for our expansion into the U.S. market.”

Nualight focuses exclusively on food retail with its Vantium product series. Fresh & Easy stores, on average, use 30 percent less energy than a typical supermarket, officials said. Fresh & Easy offers customer recycling in every store, and uses advanced refrigeration and freezer units, and uses skylights and windows to cut back on energy usage. The company also recycles or reuses all of its display packaging.

Kysor/Warren, is a division of Manitowoc Foodservice. Ltd.


A supermarket in Spain underwent a retrofit from HCFC-22 to HFC-434A (marketed by ComStar as RS-45).

Both the supermarket chain owner and the installation contractor were preoccupied by the legislation on HCFCs, particularly R-22. Moreover, the supermarket-chain owner and the service contractor, having extensive experience using other retrofit refrigerants available in the local market, decided to gauge R-434A performance. The decision to look into R-434A was due in part to recent trends in the Spanish market, it being a readily available refrigerant, and able to be used without the requirements of existing installation modifications or adapters.

The refrigerant conversion took a total turnaround service time of three hours. There were three compressors involved in the retrofit along with constant positive centrifugal turbine condensers.

R-22 was recovered from the system. Once the R-22 was removed, the pumps were disconnected.

The system was recharged with R-434A. With use of a level gauge on one of the compressors, it was determined that the lubricant level was low. So that was resolved by topping off with a POE with a viscosity of 32. An electronic leak detector was used to check for leaks. Once the unit’s temperature and pressure were checked, the refrigerant conversion was finished. The system’s amperage was checked the next day. The amperage (load) comparison between R-22 and R-434A was found to be very similar.

According to a statement from those involved in the project, “We have proved the great cooling efficiency of refrigerant R-434A since it has reached a working temperature of +1o°C with great speed compared to the original R-22 refrigerant. In this particular case study, the joints in the refrigerator were compatible with the PFC used. There was no need to regulate the expansion valve.”

The refrigerant conversion was done without need to shut down the supermarket.


Late in 2009, Food Lion LLC opened a supermarket in College Park, Ga., that was promoted as the “grocery industry’s first cascading refrigeration system with naturally occurring carbon dioxide to keep frozen and fresh food cold.”

The system came from Kysor/Warren. According to that company, “ ‘Cascading’ CO2 refrigeration uses a single system and one condenser unit. Before this, grocers incorporating CO2 needed two condensing units as well as a freezer-specific system and a medium temperature specific system. The College Park store has Kysor/Warren’s first CO2 advanced refrigeration system in a retail grocery store setting.”

“Food Lion has a long-standing commitment to environmentally friendly operations,” said Wayne Rosa, Food Lion’s energy and maintenance manager. “The advanced refrigeration system in our College Park store offers sustainability-minded grocers another way to dramatically reduce the amount of ozone-depleting refrigerants their coolers use.”

Publication date:09/06/2010