In early January Danish retailer Salling Group announced it is collaborating with Danish component manufacturer Danfoss and Microsoft to develop “best-in-class digital services” to track the temperature and energy use of supermarket refrigeration, enabling preventative maintenance to avoid food losses and energy waste.

The collaboration is part of Salling Group’s effort to  create a carbon-neutral business, for which it is investing over DKK 2.4 billion (US$350 million) in the coming years in energy and sustainability projects.

Specifically, Danfoss’s Alsense, an Internet of Things (IoT) platform built within Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, will be used to track refrigeration performance, allowing retail managers to respond to alarms, ensure 24/7 monitoring of food conditions, and reduce energy consumption.

In another piece of its investment, Salling Group disclosed plans last April to replace old refrigeration systems in 725 stores with CO2  (R744) racks. The refrigeration refurbishment project includes 127 stores in Denmark, 270 in Germany and 328 in Poland and is expected to conclude in 2026.

“Our climate ambition includes a strong focus on reducing energy consumption as well as reducing food waste from our stores,” said Henrik Vinther Olesen, Group Vice President of Communications, CSR & Public Affairs, Salling Group. Olesen feels this technology will help Salling Group achieve its goals to reduce its carbon footprint and operate a more sustainable business.

Increased alarm sensitivity

In addition, Salling Group is piloting a new feature developed for Danfoss’s Alsense called Mean Kinetic Temperature, which increases alarm sensitivity. With this feature, store managers will be alerted when refrigeration hits a “danger zone” or a temperature that would result in food spoilage due to cabinet doors left open, for example. Salling Group employees will be able to monitor the analytical operating data for a specific store in close to real-time using a Power BI dashboard. If drastic changes occur, they can act to prevent food loss.

“We are proud to be working with Salling Group, the largest food retailer in Denmark,” said Jürgen Fisher, President of Danfoss Climate Solutions.

“A key challenge for many organizations today is the ability to gather the right data and act on it accordingly,” said Peter Skov, Enterprise Commercial Director, Microsoft Denmark. In this application, Skov believes that Microsoft, working with Danfoss and Salling Group, has demonstrated that they can use technology to reduce food waste and carbon emissions. Moreover, this platform allows them to record and report on emissions.

Salling Group operates the supermarket chains Netto and føtex, the hypermarket chain Bilka, and other smaller Salling department stores. Salling Group was founded in 1906 and operates more than 1,700 stores.

“Our climate ambition includes a strong focus on reducing energy consumption as well as reducing food waste from our stores,”

Henrik Vinther Olesen, Group Vice President of Communications, CSR & Public Affairs, Salling Group