Green is “hot”- Architecture and store construction for fresh products
By now, green products are not only available in small health food shops, but also at discount supermarket chains. Going green is a trendy subject in the food trade. This is also evident in the way stores are being built. Guests are supposed to feel like they are visiting a farmer’s market with all its fresh produce. The building is also meant to be green. Conserving energy and natural construction materials gain importance.
Supermarkets are huge consumers of energy. The use in percentage for refrigeration units and freezers ranges around 40 to 60 percent. Energy – this translates into costs, but also into impact on the environment. Consumers increasingly pay attention to green criteria. The retail association in Germany (HDE) has also noticed this trend and in February awarded the CO2-neutral supermarket from Rewe in Berlin in its food category as ”Shop of the year 2010.“
With its 1,800 square meters, the Rewe store was opened in November 2009. Compared to a regular building, it consumes almost 50 percent less energy. This “Green Building“ according to Rewe, comes with a natural light design, that’s combined with energy saving building techniques, the best insulation, sustainable materials and the use of regenerative energy sources.
Edeka-merchants are walking down similar paths. On March 24 the Edeka Aktiv-Market in Untergrombach near Bruchsal (Germany) was opened. For his store and its 1,437 square meters of sales floor, proprietor Christoph Dörner placed great importance on climate friendly planning. An innovative geothermal facility is in charge of air conditioning. Through a heat pump, the waste heat that’s produced during the production process of the freezers and dairy cases, is used to heat the store during the winter. During the summer months, the geothermal facility air conditions the store and ensures comfortable temperatures. Simultaneously, it supports the cooling system by cooling down the waste heat from the production process. This improves the refrigeration capacity of the facility and reduces energy consumption.
The CO2-complete cooling system is energy efficient, because it exhibits less electricity consumption compared to conventional facilities. Furthermore, it is emission-free, because the eco-friendly CO2 is being utilized. The cooling facility is equipped with state-of-the-art control system technology, while the freezer units with their sliding class covers also conserve energy. In an interview Dr. Michael Kauffeld, Professor at the University in Karlsruhe, challenges retailers to increasingly use carbon dioxide as a cooling agent to protect the world climate.
Store atmosphere and organic produce
Today customers are more spontaneous than in the past and many come to the store without a shopping list. Retailers want to positively influence consumers in their purchasing decisions through a harmonious store design. With tables, crates and wicker baskets, the trend goes toward genuine and authentic presentation. While in the past mirrors above produce created the appearance of merchandise density, today super markets focus on real volume. It looks like a farmer’s market.
The Dutch trend scout Li Edelkoort discovers in her book “The Bible of Well Being“ early signs that people will increasingly focus on a desire for sensual well-being in all areas of life. Consumers particularly seek closeness, intimacy and regional characteristics. Health food super markets already use this trend to their advantage.
Right in the heart of Munich’s historic center, Daylesford Organic
opened its first German store on November 19, 2009 – with 180 square meters in a building dated back to 1278, the second oldest of the regional capital city. The store focuses on a natural and simple ambiance. Antique furniture and organic, original materials should convey the comfortable atmosphere of a rural farm shop.
The company was founded more than 20 years ago by an organic farmer from the British region of Staffordshire. The fresh produce of the new store in Munich comes directly from the surrounding areas. The store cooperates with the organic bakery Glonntaler Backkultur and the Hermannsdorfer Landwerkstätten (=Hermannsdorf Country Shops) Daylesford wants to avoid packaging that’s harmful to the environment by developing new types of biodegradable packaging. This is why the packaging for a yogurt drink is produced without carbon dioxide; it is mostly composed of calcium carbonate. Customers receive “bags for life“, made from organic cotton instead of plastic bags. Daylesford does not just sell groceries, but also carries old arts and crafts in its product line. The store is supplemented by a so-called “Eatery“upstairs, offering breakfast, business-lunch and a Saturday brunch. The historic premises at Ledererstraße 3 are offered for business meals in the evenings or for private parties.
There is fierce competition in Munich in terms of whole food supermarkets. The supermarket chain Basic with its headquarters in the regional capital has already opened its seventh store in Munich in March 2009. The stores are intended to be different from any others: lively, colorful and modern. Basic wants to bring organic foods to the city where many people live and work. In their new Munich store Basic also implemented what the company considers its core competencies – generous service counters for meats, sausages, cheeses, breads and desserts as well as a walk-in refrigerated warehouse for produce. Over 800 items, i.e. ten percent of the entire line of goods in the Munich stores come from regional suppliers.
Conclusion: Authenticity is slowly growing
These current examples reveal one thing clearly: If you want to distinguish yourself from the competition, it’s not sufficient anymore to just add a few organic products to your shelves. Integrated concepts are sought-after, where the customer is shown that green values are the norm – for the building, energy management and the store design. The public however is critical toward supposed organic labels. A green conscience needs to be filled with life. Consumer trust grows very slowly and is quickly destroyed.