For independent grocers and the wholesalers that serve them
Last week, I was part of a media event sponsored by Hussmann at its St. Louis HQ to showcase its latest merchandising solutions, most of which included eco-friendly innovations. Best of all, our group of scribes had the chance to see some of this new equipment in use, at two recently opened St. Louis-area supermarkets.
As temps outside topped out at 100 degrees, it was a treat to spend time with folks who create refrigeration for a living. And despite the urge to crank up the AC, the concept of energy savings dominated most of the new concepts we saw.
The folks at Hussmann say they expect nearly all grocery stores to convert displays to LED lighting within the next couple of years, which they say would deliver energy savings of 65 percent -- maybe more than 80 percent if coupled with motion dimmers that bring lights back up to full intensity when shoppers approach a cabinet. Food safety is also the order of the day, as the trademarked Microban antimicrobial protection is infused into all door handles and multi-deck shelving.
Following detailed presentations at the Hussmann plant, we were ferried out to the newest Schnucks market, a true showplace of amazing design and proportions. This store, in Des Peres, Mo., was the first to employ Hussmann's LifeLine Premier Series frozen cases; the store also features the company's XtraLife meat cases, refrigeration systems and other products. As for the store itself, I was impressed by its extensive prepared meals department, where we enjoyed a fine lunch seated in the mezzanine overlooking most of the market; the produce and meat areas; and the innovative walk-through wine and cheese cooler. We rounded out our day with a visit to the Whole Foods in Town and Country, Mo., one of the larger locations of this natural foods market chain. Of course, as all companies are becoming more and more energy conscious, this has been stock in trade for Whole Foods from the get-go, so Hussmann's cool innovations are being warmly embraced.
-- Jim Dudlicek, PG Senior Editor