Subtle change in Aldi stores praised by Aussie shoppers: 'About time'

The retailer says the change is part of a continuous effort to reduce emissions and their impact on the climate.

Retail giant ALDI has confirmed it is trialling the installation of fridge doors as a possible standard feature in its Aussie stores, with the potential change—made in a bid to reduce energy consumption—widely praised by shoppers as a positive step towards sustainability.

The trial comes amid ongoing efforts by the big three retailers, Coles, Woolworths, and ALDI, to decrease plastic packaging and lower carbon emissions.

Some customers have already noticed recent modifications at selected ALDI stores, with one shopper taking to social media to share images of her local Sydney North Rocks store, showcasing the newly installed glass doors in the refrigerated section.

A range of salmon products on display in an Aldi store in London, Britain, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Summers
The majority of ALDI stores in Australia currently have fridges without doors. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Summers

“Great! So glad to see stores putting doors back on fridges, so much energy is wasted without doors,” replied one member of the Aldi Mums Facebook page. Another added, “Well done ALDI! Much more energy efficient!”

Some customers also shared their positive experiences from overseas supermarkets, highlighting the benefits of closed fridge doors. One shopper wrote, "About time. Coming from Europe, the freezing temperatures in Australian supermarkets due to the open fridges were kind of a culture shock from an energy efficiency perspective.”

Several other ALDI fans went on to comment they had also noticed similar changes in the chilled food aisles of their own local stores.

Many shoppers have praised the move for its energy efficiency and improvement to the cold temperature of the store. Credit: Aldi Mums Facebook
The move to install fridge doors in ALDI stores has been widely praised by shoppers for its energy efficiency and impact on in-store temperatures. Credit: Aldi Mums/Facebook

ALDI change an effort to reduce carbon footprint

According to an ALDI spokesperson the supermarket is currently trialling the installation of fridge doors in selected stores across NSW as part of their efforts to reduce their energy footprint. "International trials have proven how installing doors in our chiller sections has the potential to cut energy consumption considerably."

The change sees ALDI poised to save the equivalent of over 2,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year with the installation of fridge doors, with UK trials seeing a reduction of each store’s energy consumption by approximately 20%, according to the retailer.

Introducing fridge doors in Aussie stores is part of ALDI's broader commitment to environmental sustainability, with the retail giant already becoming the first Australian supermarket to be powered by 100% renewable electricity in June 2021.

"We are continuously looking for ways to reduce emissions and our impact on the climate," the spokesperson continued, "it’s one of the many ways we’re working to make a good difference in our operations."

Opinions divided among ALDI customers

Despite the positive response from many shoppers, not all customers have welcomed ALDI's decision to try out fridge doors in their stores, with concerns also raised about aisle congestion and the impact on customers with mobility issues.

One member of the social media group said, "Our ALDI is like this too (Penrith) but it’s a nightmare if you have accessibility issues. I use a cane and can’t hold the door open and grab products easily at the same time." Another person agreed, responding, "Absolutely a horrible idea. Not suitable for people with mobility issues or arthritic hands. Makes it an absolute nightmare." A third customer simply stated, "Not a fan at all."

What are Coles and Woolworths doing?

ALDI's sustainability initiatives align with similar efforts by the other major retailers who are also striving to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact.

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company has already reduced its carbon emissions by 31 per cent, and by 2025 all stores will be run on renewable electricity. Further, the Group aims to have a broad positive future impact by reaching net positive emissions no later than 2050.

"Supermarkets are energy intensive to run, and the large number of fridges needed to keep food in top condition accounts for a significant amount of our energy use," the spokesperson said.

"Since 2015, we’ve been trialling doors on our fridges to help reduce emissions. We know this simple act alone can cut electricity consumption by up to 30 per cent. We’ve also replaced fluorescent lighting with LED lights in more than 1,000 stores, increasing energy efficiency by 35 per cent.

"Every Woolworths supermarket is digitally connected to our Energy Management Centre. It’s like a control centre, which tracks electricity use in real-time, allowing our team to identify patterns and pinpoint issues immediately when they notice energy consumption spike. It’s helped cut energy use by as much as 10 per cent in some stores."

The Together to Zero initiative sets out Coles’ ambition to reduce its impact on the environment, outlining its aspiration towards zero emissions, zero waste and zero hunger. In March 2021, Coles Group committed to being powered by 100% renewable electricity by the end of June 2025 and confirmed their commitment to delivering net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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