Salling Group and Danfoss collaborate with Microsoft to reduce food loss and energy usage in retail refrigeration

Up to 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to food loss and waste. With energy-efficient refrigeration solutions, supermarkets can ensure that the exact right amount of cooling is applied to prevent food from spoiling – all while conserving overall energy use. For many years, the food retail industry has been undergoing a sustainable transformation, starting with the transition towards CO2 and other low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. Digitalization is a part of the next phase of this journey.

Salling Group and Danfoss A/S have announced a collaboration together with Microsoft to empower sustainable food retail through digitization. Salling Group aims to create a carbon neutral business and is investing over 2.4 billion DKK in the coming years into energy- and sustainability projects. Part of this initiative includes a collaboration with Danfoss and Microsoft to develop best-in-class digital services to track temperature and energy use of supermarket refrigeration, enabling preventative maintenance to avoid food losses and energy waste.

Our climate ambition includes a strong focus on reducing energy consumption as well as reducing food waste from our stores,” says Henrik Vinther Olesen, Group Vice President Communication, CSR & Public Affairs, Salling Group. “There is no doubt that new technologies will play an important role in reaching our targets, and we embrace new solutions and inventions in every corner of our business. We look forward to utilizing this new technology and gain insights that will take us one step further in achieving our goal of removing our carbon footprint and running an increasingly more sustainable business.

Putting technology into action

Starting in 2023, Salling Group, Danfoss, and Microsoft will work together to utilize energy-efficient refrigeration systems and components, in addition to the real-time analytics from Danfoss for Salling Group stores in Denmark. Danfoss’ Alsense®, an Internet of Things (IoT) platform built within Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will be utilized to track refrigeration performance, allowing the retail managers to respond to alarms, ensure 24/7 monitoring of food conditions, and reduce energy consumption.

The collaboration will see Salling Group also pilot a new feature of Danfoss’ Alsense®, called Mean Kinetic Temperature, which expands the sensitivity of alarms. If a freezer door is accidentally left open or if a refrigerator temperature is incorrect, store managers will receive an alert when refrigeration reaches a “danger zone” before food has spoiled. These new warnings will give store managers an even earlier indication of a problem, so that corrective action can be taken before food is lost. Salling Group employees are also able to monitor the data for a specific store on a Power BI dashboard close to real time, allowing them to react proactively when drastic changes occur.

We already have the energy efficiency technologies and measures available today to deliver huge emissions reductions. We are proud to be working with Salling Group, the largest food retailer in Denmark, as one of their partners for decarbonization,” says Jürgen Fischer, President, Danfoss Climate Solutions, “With our expertise and know-how in the refrigeration domain, combined with Microsoft’s expertise in cloud and digital technologies, we have the right capabilities for delivering on a sustainability transformation in food retail.”

This new collaboration is built on a strong foundation. Salling Group was one of first adopters of CO2 refrigerants and has been collaborating with Danfoss since the 1980’s to implement sustainable cooling technology in stores. Additionally, Danfoss has also been partnering with Microsoft since 2019 to combine its domain expertise with the scalable, secure Microsoft Cloud platform.

Sustainability is on top of the agenda for Microsoft and together with Danfoss and Salling Group we are able to demonstrate how technology can play a key role in our efforts to reduce food waste and carbon emissions,” says Peter Skov, Enterprise Commercial Director, Microsoft Denmark, “A key challenge for many organizations today, is the ability to gather the right data and act on it accordingly – additionally to record and report on their emissions, which our platform enables. We are looking forward to invest more time together with Salling and Danfoss to see how our platform can support them even further on the sustainability agenda.”