The IoT: Redefining Local Food Retail Tech and Green Initiatives


As the IoT has become more common place, it has also become more affordable and less intimidating. Though the IoT data frontier is one that is virtually horizionless, its complexity and resourcefulness are no longer exclusively being leveraged by government and big business, but by your local grocery store, or your favorite restaurant down the street.

The IoT’s capability and potential is finding its way into every industry. Analytical power at this level, doesn’t stay secret or siloed for long.

Food Retailers- America’s Subtle Energy Consumers
So how could a ma and pa grocery store or a local restaurant possibly leverage the IoT? How could they ever make it worth the time and cost? Consider this-

“On average, supermarkets in the United States use around 50 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 50 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot per year — an average annual energy cost of more than $4 per square foot. For an average-size (50,000 square foot) store, this equates to more than $200,000 annually in energy costs and results in 1,900 tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere — equivalent to the emissions from 360 vehicles in one year!” – Energy Star

“Restaurants in the United States spend on average $2.90 per square foot on electricity and $0.85 per ft2 on natural gas annually. This means 3 to 5 percent of their total operating costs are typically spent on energy.” – National Grid

IoT Initiative for Greener Food Retail
While the “Smart” devices of the world often come with a larger price tag, in the food retail sector, they often come as a very smart investment. An IoT phenomenon that has recently enhanced the food retail industry is commonly referred to as refrigeration optimization.

Refrigeration Optimization
The IoT has enabled refrigeration to become more calculated and efficient than ever before. Using wireless sensors, smart refrigerators can:
Recognize system failure saving approximately $10,00 in food spoilage per  instance while yielding a 24% cutback in energy usage through streamlined maintenance    

Capture excess heat that is being wasted and covert this heat into energy

Manage and reclaim water that has been evaporated from your condenser

Monitor themselves and report maintenance that will allow it to operate more efficiently.  

Lighting Optimization
“Publix has cut its electric use by 7% overall and about 23% in new stores since launching its “Get Into a Green Routine” program in 2002…the installation of LED lighting in its frozen and refrigerated cases cut energy use there by 50-80%.”

Grocery stores and restaurants are completely dependent on electrical appliances. This reliance has often lead to harsh critiques regarding corporate responsibility.  The IoT has opened a door for the food retailer industry to offer a consistent and satisfactory customer experience while complying with green initiatives.

Greener Store Correlate with Greener Bank Accounts
Even if green compliance and social corporate responsibility are low on your priority list, investing in IoT enabled appliances have shown that have a very positive correlation with savings and even increased sales. According to Panoramic Power, a 10% reduction in energy costs directly correlates to a 10% increase in profits.

According to the same source, every $1 in energy savings is equivalent to a $59 increase in sales. So perhaps being vocal about your sustainability and green compliance isn’t just, “a nice thing.”

Refrigeration often accounts for 1% of a food retailer’s total sales. Since grocers typically have a profit margin of about 1%, efficient IoT appliances are being welcomed with open arms in the industry.

From super market giants to a local snow cone business, the IoT is enabling green initiatives and long-term savings plans on massive scale. 

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Contributing Writer

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