Foodstuffs deploys pioneering innovations across all of their supermarkets

It was an interesting challenge to encourage a group of franchises to try energy efficiency. After a Whanganui PAK’nSAVE won the Small to Medium Business EECA Award in 2012, cooperative Foodstuffs NZ approached EECA to help the whole group adopt the innovations which their adventurous Whanganui franchisee had pioneered.


At the end of an initial two-year monitoring and targeting project (2014), 30 Foodstuffs retailers had achieved nearly three-times the energy savings they had aimed for.

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd represents the PAK’nSAVE, New World, Liquorland and Four Square brands and nine other regional brands.

Foodstuffs Sustainability Manager, Mike Sammons explains the challenge,

“Many conservation measures can be perceived to put a barrier between the customer and the product – lids on freezers, doors between different areas.  Retailers are understandably cautious about doing anything that has that effect, particularly when energy costs are a small proportion of overall store costs.”

“However, sustainability is an increasingly important element of our brand, and barriers can be overcome through good design, so we wanted to pursue the challenge.”

With the help of grants from EECA, Foodstuffs has installed sub-metering at 60 sites across the country, and engaged consultants Ecosystems Ltd to monitor, advise and report on energy use changes.

Shannon van Waveren from Ecosystems says that as stores built a history of their energy use and anomalies, they began targeted changes to reduce energy consumption.

“We had to build a relationship with each store owner, and identify individual solutions depending on the age of their building and equipment, and the way they ran their business.”

“Then as their business needs permitted, we made changes to their plant and working patterns. A lot of these changes are so simple – increasing shutdown of systems overnight, re-tuning HVAC and refrigeration systems, improved lighting controls.”

Foodstuffs had aimed for energy reductions of just over two million kWh in two years, but at the end of the 24 months had achieved over four million KWh – over 200% of the target. The dollar value of the energy savings was $426,577.

These savings were all achieved through permanent changes, reducing overheads for individual stores over the long term, and further changes will add to those permanent reductions. Some stores have reduced fixed cost energy use by 15-20%.

EECA BUSINESS general manager Greg Visser sees the project as a real breakthrough in the industry. “The supermarket sector is, of necessity, a significant consumer of energy. But there has not traditionally been a focus on energy efficiency. Foodstuffs are definitely leading the way, especially in the new stores, where EECA is funding a design review.”

Mike Sammons says there’s a strong focus on energy efficiency in the design of their new buildings. “We’ve got natural lighting through roof lights, dimmable LED lighting, lids on freezers and we reclaim heat from refrigeration for heating water. This is part of a bigger sustainability programme within the group, which also covers greenhouse gas emission reduction, waste reduction and moving to more sustainable packaging.”

We have turned a very important corner in the last couple of years. Between 2010 and 2013 we witnessed energy consumption increasing on average in stores by 1-2% per annum in stores but analysis of our 2014 consumption clearly indicates that we have now reversed that trend.

Foodstuffs and EECA are looking at ways to formalise an ongoing partnership, rolling out energy efficiencies to all stores in the group and providing strategic leadership.

Company profile

The Company

Foodstuffs Group consists of two regional cooperatives, Foodstuffs North Island Ltd and Foodstuffs South Island Ltd, with 763 sites in total.  Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, based in Auckland and Wellington, acts as the federation body.

Foodstuffs brands are PAK’nSAVE, New World, Four Square, Liquorland, Gilmours, Toops, Write Price, Shoprite, Trents, Henrys, On the Spot Convenience, On the Spot Express and Raeward Fresh.

The group employs more than 30,000 people, and is one of New Zealand’s largest employers.

The Consultant

ECOsystems was founded in 1995, and has offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. They employ a wide range of energy saving specialists, and their company aim is to reduce energy use in commercial buildings by 50%.

Key benefits

  • Annual Energy Savings Achieved – 3,332,817kWh (160% of target)
  • Most efficiencies are permanent
  • Some stores achieved energy savings of 15-20%
  • Overall payback on capital investments of 2.4 years