The challenges and opportunities of food refrigeration in supermarkets

Frozen and chilled foods make up a large part of the products available on supermarket shelves. Due to its practicality, this is a category that, for some years, has been gaining ground in consumer preference.

When shopping, we find series of products under controlled temperature, chilled products, from fresh foods, such as meats, fruits, vegetables, yogurts, cheeses, butters, juices, among others preserved in positive temperatures (between 5 and 10 ° C), even cooked and ready-made foods, fish, meat, ice cream, vegetables, potato sticks, cheese bread, snacks, just to name a few, which are stored in negative temperatures - below 0 ° C (between -12 and -18 ° C).

De acordo com um levantamento da Nielsen, empresa global especializada em inteligência de mercado, o consumo de alimentos congelados aumentou consideravelmente durante a pandemia.
According to a survey made by Nielsen, a global company specializing in market intelligence, the consumption of frozen foods increased considerably during the pandemic.

In Brazil, the purchase of frozen meats increased 67%, even because people stopped eating meals outside the home. In Colombia, this increase was of 358% and in Peru, the increase in frozen food consumption in general reached 568%. This really shows that people are willing to invest in food that lasts longer, or ready for consumption, as well as it demonstrates the importance of refrigeration for humanity, providing more power of choice to the consumer in different circumstances.

Even before the pandemic, this preference was already being noticed. Frozen dishes are on the shopping list of 69% of buyers, according to a 2019 Mind Shopper survey. And even if the person has no intention of buying something frozen, 45% of consumers end up going through that section in the supermarket.
However, keeping frozen food in a good state of preservation represents a huge expense of electricity for supermarkets, which is second only to the payroll expenses in the establishment's fixed costs ratio.

The refrigeration system alone can represent about 40% of the monthly energy expenditure in this type of establishment, this account does not include expenses with the air conditioning system. There are ways to reduce this consumption, such as: using more efficient equipment, which prevents loss of electricity, performing routine inspections to make sure that the evaporators are not blocked and also performing frequent preventive and corrective maintenance.

Thus, the question remains: how to maximize profits, when the entrepreneur needs to use refrigeration systems that consume a significant part of what could be his profitability? The answer is: investing in quality, efficient equipment that guarantees safety in food storage.

Health Surveillance, which operates in states and municipalities, is the responsible organ for supervising the food security of supermarket establishments. A place that sells frozen products must have at least:

  • A raw material deposit, with appropriate containers, according to the type and temperature of the food to be stored;
  • A production area (usually the kitchen);
  • A storage area for finished products, such as commercial refrigerators and freezers, adapted with shelves and drawers to facilitate food handling;

All products must have expiration date and date of entry into stock. Health licensing is always obtained from the State and / or Municipal Health Surveillance, where the establishment is installed.

It is important to say that foods that are richer in nutrients and with more water are more susceptible to deterioration, such as meat. The main risk of defrosting is that the food can be contaminated by microorganisms during the process. The bacteria that are present in the meat start to multiply, as the temperature approaches the same as the environment, at an increasingly fast pace. In addition, the meat ends up suffering losses in the quality of texture and flavor, which makes its sale sometimes infeasible. Foods like vegetables suffer the same loss.

Another very relevant aspect is the dehydration that occurs in foods composed of a lot of water, impacting on the reduction of the quality of the product and mainly on the reduction of the weight of the product, this effect can be minimized with the use of efficient and correctly sized evaporators. In most supermarkets, the use of old and badly sized evaporators is quite common, representing an invisible cost and most of the times unknown by the owners.

Use of evaporators and condensers in the refrigeration system

To optimize the refrigeration system of your establishment, it is necessary to adopt equipment such as high efficiency evaporators and condensers. Both act as heat exchangers with the environment.

The evaporator is fed with a liquid refrigerant fluid, which ends up evaporating inside the equipment, absorbing the heat of the compartment, which keeps the products refrigerated or frozen. The condenser is responsible for dissipating the heat absorbed by the fluid in the evaporator to the environment, bringing it back to the liquid state.

For the entire refrigeration cycle process to work well balanced and with energy efficiency, it is necessary to correctly calculate the thermal load, which will be required from the refrigeration system.

For this, it is necessary to make a survey of criteria:

  • the dimensions of the cold room, insulating material and thickness,
  • its positioning in relation to other equipment that generates heat in the establishment,
  • how many people will work on the place and for how many hours a day,
  • what is the power and hours of operation of the lighting and forklifts,
  • which product is to be packaged / processed,
  • how many kilograms of product enter the cold room per day,
  • what is the temperature of the product entering the cold room,
  • what is the desired final temperature for the product and the time needed to reach that temperature;
  • the dimensions of the doors, the number of openings per day and the time they will remain open,
  • external ambient temperature and relative humidity.

From there it will be possible to define the amount of heat that must be processed by the equipment. See the example below:


Deltafrio products are known for their energy efficiency and high reliability. The main models of evaporators used in cold rooms of supermarkets are the evaporators of the STANDARD constructive concept of the F family and the evaporators of the PREMIUM concept of the DF, DFx and DRB (high flow) lines. To find out their main differences and compare them, click here. The F200 and DFC lines are intended for process rooms. Among the condenser models are the DCV, DCP, DCA remote air lines and the evaporatives DCE line, all focused on high efficiency and low energy consumption.

To learn more about our products, visit our page.

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