By: Laurie Gethin, Director, Education, Food Marketing Institute

Lighting in GroceryContrary to numerous media stories, Millennials are still seeking in-store shopping experiences despite their growing interest in ecommerce. When it comes to in-store experiences, this generation is also most apt to judge a company by its business ethics and sustainability practices, reports U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017. Retailers are working to create energy-efficient and sustainable shopping environments to not only meet the demand of shoppers, but reduce the burden of operating costs.

For energy professionals in food retail, technology advancements have been driving decision making for short-term, medium-term and long-term strategic thinking. According to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2017, 78 percent of respondents report that energy costs have a negative impact on sales. With this challenge, a popular topic for energy and systems managers remains how the industry can turn energy-using equipment into revenue-producing assets and to constructs greener stores we know shoppers seek. Attendees at the 2017 Energy and Store Development (ESD) Conference (E&SD) took a deep dive into the challenges, trends, and solutions for the industry. E&SD Committee member, Andrew Goldberg, senior energy project manager at Hannaford Supermarkets, shares his perspective:

“There was such a focus on future trends, alternative refrigeration strategies, and current events that connected how our industry fits in the transforming world,” explained Goldberg. “The conference is the perfect overlap between energy, refrigeration, store development and food retail. Everything presented is very applicable to my world, which makes it worth the time invested.” 

Conference sessions provide insights on hot topics, changing trends, and how to prepare for the future. And, opportunities to collaborate with energy leaders serving food retail is a great way to find solutions to today’s demands.  According to Goldberg, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any retailer, of any size. The key is to have a clear strategy of what you want to achieve, and find partners who can help you execute it. 

Goldberg continued, “The overlap between food retail and energy can be so small, that finding the vendors and contractors who are experts in this technology is challenging. At ESD, the manufacturer-retailer exchange is a great way to review new products and technologies that I would not have seen. The more knowledgeable you are of the industry, the more value you can bring to your organization.” 

Explore what's happening at the 2018 Energy and Store Development Conference here

To learn more from the 2017 E&SD Conference, read “What Will the Role of Store Development Be In The Digital Age of Food Retail?”,“Creating a Food Theater in Your Store,” and “How Industry Trends and Technology Will Influence the Future of Physical Stores.”