Grocery & Convenience

Grocery and convenience stores are a vital part of their communities, supplying fresh foods, quick snacks, jobs, and even gathering spots. They also create a significant environmental impact. These impacts are becoming more scrutinized by regulators and other stakeholders, and the industry must manage increased regulations on food waste as well as bans on plastic bags and other single-use plastics. To manage resources, satisfy stakeholders and more positively impact their communities, these stores can turn to sustainability solutions to reduce resource use and related operating costs.

What challenges are groceries facing today?

From ‘superstores’ that offer both grocery and retail offerings to standalone convenience stores, this industry’s biggest challenges include razor-thin profit margins, high energy and water consumption and waste generation, and evolving customer preferences for greater variety at competitive prices.

The high cost of doing business (i.e., labor, food and resource costs) greatly impacts profit margins, so any efficiency improvements can drive significant profits. While other retail businesses may operate for less than 12 hours a day, grocery and convenience stores often operate for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, minimizing the equipment, lighting and HVAC downtime where savings are typically found.

Consumers have increasing online options to the traditional grocery store such as shopping and delivery services or meal kits delivered straight to their door. They want greater convenience, so in turn grocers are responding with new in-store buying experiences. Salad bars, prepared food and meal kits are on the rise, requiring additional equipment such as ovens, heating elements and increased water consumption and single-use plastics. Grocers must balance creating an environment that’s attractive to customers and increases product visibility while considering sustainable business practices.

What grocery trends support the sustainability transformation?


What should groceries and convenience stores be thinking about?

Some of the following actions can help grocers address current trends and external pressures while maximizing savings and resource efficiency.

Featured Case Study

$4/sqft

average annual cost of energy per grocery store

80%

of electric use is attributed to refrigeration and lighting

8,000

gallons of water are used every day by the average grocery store

1,900

tons of CO2 is emitted per store per year

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