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Exploring barriers to energy efficiency in supermarkets
University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8323-4459
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Sustainable development
According to the author(s), the content of this publication falls within the area of sustainable development.
Abstract [en]

Energy efficiency activities in sections of grocery stores for chilled groceries are subject to particular challenges as this is a complex indoor environment given that the goal of store owners is to offer consumers chilled groceries of high quality in a comfortable environment while at the same time trying to reduce energy use. Consequently, it is important to maintain the right temperature in the right place and to be aware of the consumers’ shopping situation. The way chilled groceries are displayed, the form of refrigeration, the building size, and business and merchandising practices may differ between retail stores, impacting energy efficiency. Finding a balance between being energy effective and efficient, i.e., doing the right things or doing things right, is therefore important. This particular environment, where consumers interact with store staff, other consumers, chilled groceries, and other environmental factors, is a surprisingly unexplored part of retail, especially when it comes to consumers’ behaviors and perceptions. This thesis is multidisciplinary, and the research has been broadened from studying measured and perceived comfort parameters in supermarkets to incorporating qualitative studies with a clearer and deeper interest in consumers’ perceptions and behaviors. In this thesis, findings from the cold environment of chilled food display cabinets, either with doors or without, are discussed and tangible commodities are used to illustrate how ‘details’ such as doors on cabinets matter to consumers. The consumers are of the main interest since they make up the businesses. The aim of this thesis is to gain knowledge of how to improve energy efficiency and the store layout for chilled groceries by adding consumer insights. Four specific papers contribute to this thesis’ aim of overcoming specific challenges faced by retail grocery stores as regards energy efficiency. The results show how details such as doors can affect consumers’ perceptions and behaviors. The details that matter concern how consumers perceive and behave in relation to having doors or no doors on cabinets, with different forms of approach or avoidance behavior in terms of accessibility, both beneficial and problematic. Moreover, the results also show that knowledge of how to provide service to the consumer, in particular in the foodscape and with doors on cabinets, can affect the store’s energy use in a positive way and contribute toward more sustainable and energy efficient retail grocery stores. By elaborating these results in relation to “foodscape”, this thesis contributes to research on servicescape. The thesis also contributes to research on in-store energy efficiency in relation to four challenges that retail grocery stores face: building design, retail context, consumer insights, and management. The perspectives of the consumers may help to overcome barriers to energy efficiency, aid in the design of a functional foodscape and facilitate technology change for sustainable and efficient energy use in supermarket buildings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2018.
Series
Skrifter från Högskolan i Borås, ISSN 0280-381X ; 90
Keywords [en]
retail, servicescape, foodscape, chilled groceries, energy efficiency, barriers, refrigerated display cabinets, consumer behaviors, consumer perceptions
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Resource Recovery
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15059ISBN: 978-91-88838-04-9 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88838-05-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-15059DiVA, id: diva2:1244991
Public defence
2018-11-30, M404, Borås, 13:15
Opponent
Available from: 2018-11-08 Created: 2018-09-04 Last updated: 2019-03-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Designing a Zero Carbon supermarket
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing a Zero Carbon supermarket
2016 (English)In: Sustainable Retail Refrigeration / [ed] Evans, J., and A.M. Foster, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, 1, p. 313-328Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Editors Judith A. Evans and Alan M. Foster present readers with a collection of expert contributions on the ways in which to optimize refrigeration display cabinets and refrigeration systems for sustainability. The selections that make up the main body of the text cover the latest technologies and contemporary best practices from around the world in maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste in retail refrigeration. The Editors are both faculty members of London South Bank University in the UK. (© Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2016 Edition: 1
Keywords
retail, supermarket, sustainable, refrigeration
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Resource Recovery; Business and IT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-11685 (URN)10.1002/9781118927410.ch14 (DOI)2-s2.0-85034038411 (Scopus ID)978-0-470-65940-3 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-01-09 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2018-11-29Bibliographically approved
2. Research for the retail grocery context: A systematic review on display cabinets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Research for the retail grocery context: A systematic review on display cabinets
(English)In: Trends in Food Science & Technology, ISSN 0924-2244, E-ISSN 1879-3053Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Resource Recovery
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15279 (URN)
Available from: 2018-11-08 Created: 2018-11-08 Last updated: 2018-11-22
3. Thermal comfort in the supermarket environment-multiple enquiry methods and simultaneous measurements of the thermal environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Thermal comfort in the supermarket environment-multiple enquiry methods and simultaneous measurements of the thermal environment
2016 (English)In: 4th IIR International Conference on Sustainability and the Cold Chain, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the supermarket environment three factors must be considered: food (food quality), personnel (working conditions), and customers. The customers do not remain in this environment very long but are of particular interest since they constitute the supermarket’s commercial basis. However, there are no recommendations on the indoor environment based on this category. This study compares the perceived indoor thermal environment with simultaneous objective measurements of the thermal environment and includes multiple enquiry methods. These methods have been used for this specific environment in order to understand how customers perceive, evaluate, and prefer variations in the thermal environment. Measurements were performed in summer and winter in front of twelve display cabinets, and over 1100 questionnaires have been received. To provide recommendations, this study presents measured and perceived comfort in supermarkets, information which can be used for prescribing suitable thermal environments for customers.

Keywords
thermal environment, supermarket, interdisciplinary, display cabinets, thermal comfort
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Bussiness and IT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-11688 (URN)10.18462/iir.iccc.2016.0006 (DOI)
Conference
4th IIR International Conference on Sustainability and the Cold Chain, Auckland, April 7-9, 2016
Available from: 2017-01-09 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2018-11-08Bibliographically approved
4. Consumer perception and behavior in the retail foodscape – A study of chilled groceries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consumer perception and behavior in the retail foodscape – A study of chilled groceries
2018 (English)In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, ISSN 0969-6989, E-ISSN 1873-1384, Vol. 40, p. 1-7Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the retail grocery business, new competitors such as pure e-commerce players are growing fast, and, in order to compete, ‘brick and mortar’ stores such as supermarkets need to become more professional at providing excellent customer service, and to use the physical servicescape as the main competitive advantages. However, supermarkets also face a challenge to offer consumers high quality products while at the same time providing a pleasant and functional servicescape. Products like groceries often need to be stored in cabinets due to strict regulations and in order to maintain correct temperatures. Some of these cabinets have doors which make them more energy-efficient (Evans et al., 2007 ;  Faramarzi et al., 2002), reduces costs, and contributes to grocery quality, but it can also affect the perceived servicescape, and risk a negative impact on sales (Waide, 2014; Kauffeld, 2015). For example, moisture from the atmosphere that condenses on the inside of the door glass (Fricke and Bansal, 2015) may make the cabinets less transparent, and doors can obstruct consumers from passing by. Thus, having chilled groceries in cabinets with doors can be both beneficial and problematic. However, no studies have been conducted on how open (no doors) or closed (with doors) cabinets for chilled groceries impact consumer perception and behavior. Hence, the purpose of the study is to contribute to an understanding of how consumers behave and what they perceive when shopping chilled groceries from cabinets with doors and without doors in the supermarket.

Based on a qualitative research approach, combining in-store observations and focus group interviews, and focusing on Bitner's (1992) three environmental variables in the servicescape, i.e. (1) ambient condition, (2) space and functions, and (3) signs, symbols and artifacts, the study investigates the question: do open or closed cabinets for chilled groceries in the supermarket impact consumer perception and behavior, and if so, how?

Our results indicate that consumers’ behavior and perceptions of the foodscape differ when there are doors or no doors on the cabinets. The paper thereby contributes to servicescape research by focusing on a particular part of supermarkets – the foodscape for chilled groceries–and by enhancing the understanding of environmental variables in the servicescape. The results further show how doors lead to different forms of approach or avoidance behavior in terms of accessibility and that consumers’ vision, olfaction and tactility all influence consumers’ perceptions of freshness and cleanliness in relation to doors or no doors. Our results also have practical implications for retailers who are designing new stores or considering changes in existing store layouts.

Keywords
grocery retail, consumer behavior, consumer perception, servicescape, foodscape
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Resource Recovery
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-12572 (URN)10.1016/j.jretconser.2017.09.001 (DOI)000416655400001 ()
Funder
Swedish Retail and Wholesale Development Council
Available from: 2017-09-13 Created: 2017-09-13 Last updated: 2018-11-29Bibliographically approved

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