Okay I get it. Not duh. Because the industry has done things a certain way and a lot of that predates refrigeration of certain products as a standard thing. And sure, because there’s the perception that doors will separate the customer from the product and affect sales.
But that’s why the last two sentences are so key:
“…they equipped the refrigerators with LED lights to better highlight the items, and customers seem to find this a satisfactory exchange. There has been no decline in sales.“
Emphasis added, but there’s the point right there. Sales continue, money is saved, power is saved, produce stays fresher so there’s less waste, win-win-win-win. In fact, a Dutch study showed similar results, with the return on investment period in terms of energy savings being 1.3 to 2.9 years depending on the configuration. It also showed benefit even for just overnight closings.
The only obvious environmental downside is the material usage for converting the existing shelves into having doors, especially if they’re pulled out entirely and not reused/recycled in some fashion.
Co-op supermarkets extend fridge door scheme (Full article on which the Grist one above is based)
The Co-operative Food (the store in question)
Supermarkets get cold feet over fridge doors (Older Guardian article about how UK stores apparently promised to do this and then didn’t, at least until the one above just recently)
Closed supermarket refrigerator and freezer cabinets: a feasibility study (The full Dutch study)
ADVANCES IN SUPERMARKET REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS (A study on various supermarket systems in several countries and typical energy usage)
Comparative Assessment of the Climate Relevance of Supermarket Refrigeration Systems and Equipment (A German study on refrigerant use in supermarkets relative to the impact of those materials on climate change)