Supermarket chain uses tarts in unorthodox way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Posted by Isobel Drake on 22nd January 2010

UK groery chain Waitrose is trying a novel approach to reducing their carbon footprint by adding a Bakewell tart smell to its refrigeration gases.

The cherry Bakewell scent – cherry and almond – is used in the HFC (hydro fluorocarbon) gases in fridges, which have a high global warming potential if leaked. The distinctive smell means any leaks would be immediately ‘sniffed out’, helping to cut the retailer’s environmental impact.

Waitrose hopes the new initiative will help it achieve its target of cutting refrigerant leaks by 50% in the next three years.

The strong scent is so far being used in two Waitrose shops with the retailer plan to extend the trial if it proves successful.

The company is using the tactic as they pursue a plan to phase out HFC gases from its fridges – something most leading supermarket chains have committed to around the world.

“We realise it sounds like a funny thing to do, but there’s a serious reason behind it,” Waitrose Head of Engineering Steve Isaia explained. “HFC gases are a major contributor towards global warming – so while we’re working through our shops getting rid of HFCs we wanted to make sure leaks are kept to an absolute minimum.”