Sustainable Differentiation

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Two business drivers in food retail today stand to change the way equipment and design are conducted over the next decade. The first is the need to differentiate, as retailers look to set themselves apart in an increasingly competitive environment. The second is the desire to be better corporate citizens.

To differentiate means customized foodservice offerings, customized fixtures and displays, and new store designs and layouts that enhance shopability. And the greening of the industry has become so prevalent that any equipment or design suppliers with no sustainable offerings will find themselves out of business 10 years from now.
Most retailers have already begun tackling both of these initiatives simultaneously. A Cub Foods store that opened January in St. Paul, Minn., for example, was designed with a focus on enhanced service, with an eye toward earth-friendliness. The result is a shopper-centric store that earned EPA GreenChill Gold-Level Certification. What’s more, it’s the first grocery store in Minnesota and one of the first stores in the nation to successfully achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) NC 2.2
Gold Certification.
“The challenge for us as a design team was to deliver to Cub its most energy-efficient store to date,” says Supervalu-owned Design Services Group (DSG) lead architect Bryan Slattery. “We had to significantly reduce our typical carbon footprint, while keeping the Cub brand intact from an aesthetic and operational standpoint, and to do all of this in the most cost-effective manner possible.”
Food Lion is another example of a retailer addressing both sustainability and shopability. The Delhaize-owned retailer, which has more Energy Starcertified stores than any other grocer in the country, continues to standout from the pack with its latest remodel of 38 stores that rolled out last month and feature new signage and cases, enhanced lighting, expanded produce and meat sections, a greater selection of wines and beer, and a Nature’s Place natural and organic food section.
The following columns by industry experts take a peek into the future to predict how equipment and design will evolve over the next 10 years as they help retailers meet the dual tasks of increased competitiveness and sustainability. Chuck Campagna, president and CEO of Fairfield, N.J.-based architecture and lighting consultancy Amerlux, addresses the topic of sustainable illumination, while Clive Roux, CMO at Atlanta-based home, school and office supply company Baumgarten’s, discusses the future of foodservice equipment.
An additional column on foodservice equipment, by Jenni Bair of Troy, Ohio-based Hobart, is at Progressivegrocer.com. Indeed, Progressive Grocer is peering into its own crystal ball: Our “Lasting Impressions” research project, which we’re conducting in partnership with Meridian Consulting, design firm Shook-Kelley and supplier Cadbury Adams, will uncover what the future of front end checkout design will be. The second installment of this research will be available in April.
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