CO2 offers unexpected benefit: less product shrink

By Derek Gosselin
Hillphoenix Systems Product Manager

Today’s grocery shoppers demand more fresh offerings — from cut fruit to prepared meals — and this changes the profitability equation for supermarkets. Fresh sells, but as perishables become a larger percentage of a store’s mix, it’s essential to extend how long those products are fit for sale.

That’s why grocers are adding doors to refrigerated display cases and employing new, moisture-retaining cooling technologies like Hillphoenix’s Coolgenix cases in the meat department. But there’s another product-shrink solution that comes as a bonus prize in a carbon dioxide-based refrigeration conversion: consistent cooling.

Traditional hydrofluorocarbon-based commercial refrigeration systems use a mechanical valve to measure pressure differentials. The valve is not a constant sentry, and temperatures can fluctuate 3 degrees — or even as much as 5 degrees — without warning. That’s enough of a change in temperature to trigger spoiling, thereby reducing product longevity and shortening the sales cycle.

Hillphoenix Second Nature CO2-based systems feature electronic expansion valves with case controllers integrated into the case design. These controls automatically assess pressure differentials and make adjustments — meaning the temperature fluctuation in a CO2 system is only about 1 degree, so product temperature stays more consistent.

Most customers buy a CO2 system to lower their refrigerant and energy costs; future-proof their business against regulatory changes; and reduce their carbon footprint. The fact that CO2-systems provide better case controls that reduce product shrink and lengthen the sales cycle just improves their return-on-investment calculations — and gives them more incentive to make the switch.

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