Lockdown Learnings

On World Refrigeration Day, Adande’s Head of Marketing Caroline Parker, looks at the environmental response to lockdown and how the hospitality and food service industry has its part to play when it comes to safeguarding our planet, and meeting our sustainability goals.  

I don’t really know why it came as so much of a shock, what with the threat of AVIAN FLU, SARS and most recently the EBOLA Virus, the writing was pretty much on the wall, when you come to think about it.

Yet, it was still a shock. One-minute haring along, doing all manner of ultra-important things and in the next experiencing what seemed like your driving test instructor slamming the dashboard palm down, indicating the emergency stop.

And so it began. The weeks of jobbing about the house, ticking off the to-dos that have been hanging around since 2010, feeling a malaise you were unused to, and living life in your pyjamas. With an hour’s daily reprieve to stretch one’s legs, the world shrunk in the blink of an eye.

Yet as we all went into hibernation the demand for energy dropped and so did global pollution. Geophysicists around the world were measuring a significant reduction in polluting emissions. Last month, whilst some of us were discovering TikTok, scientist Corinne Le Quéré, Professor of Climate Change Science from the University of East Anglia, together with Philippe Ciais, Associate Director of the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL), presented research showing that global daily emissions in early April 2020 had decreased by 17% on last year – a reduction of some 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (Mt CO2) per day. The study published in the journal Nature Climate Change states the levels of CO2 that we have seen during the coronavirus period are equivalent to those of 2006. The estimated total change in emissions from the pandemic amounts to 1048 Mt CO2 by the end of April. China saw the biggest reduction in emissions with a decrease of 242 Mt CO2, followed by the US (207 Mt CO2) and Europe (123 Mt CO2). The total change in the UK for January-April 2020 is an estimated 18 Mt CO2. (reference 1)

Changes were also seen on the ground with many people giving testimony to the air feeling cleaner, the colours around us looking somehow brighter, nature had begun its recovery. Even local wildlife responded by venturing closer to towns and cities including the wild goats who took over the empty streets of Llandudno.

Now, as the virus begins to wane and the global economies gain traction once more, carbon emissions are set to increase. The pressure to ensure we meet the UN Paris Agreement climate objectives and become net zero carbon by 2050 has never been more acutely felt.

Each one of us has a role to play, personally and professionally and we will have to work together in order to contribute meaningfully to our goal.

Different sectors of the economy have to address their own issues. For the hospitality and food service industry, refrigeration is the largest polluter in the kitchen and can cost a venue a considerable sum to run when purchasers have been less than smart.

Executive chefs and those responsible for new kitchen equipment have a duty to consider the efficiency of the products they are buying. Inefficient refrigeration, that loses its cold air, lacks proper insulation, are a REAL drain on energy. Yet, as important as that is, it is not the biggest issue the sector faces, there is a bigger problem – that of food waste.

According to research published by WRAP organisation in January this year, (reference 2) the cost of food being wasted in the UK from the hospitality and food service sector was in 2018, estimated at £3.2 billion per year. A staggering figure, when again according to WRAP data, 75% of that wastage could have been avoided, a third as a result of general spoilage.

We have a mammoth task in front of us, Adande Refrigeration are making strides in showing hospitality venues how we can not only help them save money but also, contribute positively to a greener, cleaner world.

Adande drawers are not energy draining, in fact you can run three of them on a single mains electric cable which runs from 1 x 13amp plug socket. Adande fridges and freezers “hold the cold” – you won’t find cold air escaping from these drawers, thanks to their unique design. Unlike conventional refrigeration, Adande uses low-velocity cooling to chill produce and retain a stable temperature precisely controlling humidity. Small fans pull air from the drawer, and drop it back down over the food. This means that if a user is continually in-and-out of the drawers all day long, the impact of high temperatures and ambient air is minimal, providing a cool and benign microclimate for the perfect storage of produce. Such ideal storage reduces food spoilage, and prolongs shelf life thanks to the reduction in both dehydration and freezer burn. Indeed, large commercial hospitality brands such as McDonald’s and KFC together with those owned by Whitbread Plc actively use Adande in their restaurants and pubs as the refrigeration works towards the company’s own sustainability goals.

Even in food retail, Adande is developing innovative solutions when it comes to cutting both food and energy wastage. Its new open-fronted cabinet Aircell® has been developed specifically for supermarkets and food-to-go outlets. Just like with its drawers, Adande has strategically managed the airflow to specifically create energy savings of over 30% when compared to conventional open front cabinets. This new approach to the problem of cold air spillage means that supermarkets and food-to-go outlets who have resisted the call to install glass doors on their fridges now have a bona fide solution that not only answers the question of sustainability, but that also allows a customer to choose goods, unhindered and without the need to touch well-used door handles that may carry infection.

It is imperative that in a post-COVID world, manufacturers and suppliers of food service equipment that are pro-active in the production of environmentally sustainable solutions have government support to ensure they don’t get side-lined for less efficient alternatives, as the financial pressures on the economy begin to bite.

Industry body, the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has been actively lobbying the UK government to do the right thing and keep the momentum of current EU directives.

So, as we sit and celebrate World Refrigeration Day and look forward to the hospitality sector opening up again, we want to see a few welcome changes that can be embraced under ‘the new normal’. Such as incentives for restaurants and pubs to scrap old, energy-hungry refrigeration and legislation for supermarkets to address their cold-aisle syndrome with energy efficient chiller cabinets. If we come out of hibernation having learned one thing, I hope it is that we have to look after our natural resources, and each one of us shoulder the responsibility to look after our planet.


  1. Le Quéré, C., Jackson, R.B., Jones, M.W. et al. Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement. Nat. Clim. Chang. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0797-x )
  2. WRAP, 2020, Banbury, UK progress against Courtauld 2025 targets and Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, Prepared by Andrew Parry, Billy Harris, Karen Fisher and Hamish Forbes

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