Energy efficiency from farm to fork? On the relevance of non-energy benefits and behavioural aspects along the cold supply chain
Though cooling is an ancient concept to preserve food, only modern artificial cooling and freezing made it possible to offer high quality food worldwide and independently of the season. This makes cooling and freezing important energy end-uses in the food industry: they are responsible for about 30 % of electricity consumption. Energy efficiency could thus be of remarkable importance for companies operating in this field. Energy efficiency measures can entail, additionally to the evidentenergy savings, non-energy related benefits, e.g. enhanced competitiveness, reduced maintenance requirements or an improvedworking environment. Such factors have been identified as important for affecting the assessment of energy efficiency measures. When it comes to whole cold supply chains, behavioural and organizational aspects seem to be important for decision making about energy efficiency as well, because factors affecting decisions in individual organizations may also occur as cross-organizational issues. Existing analyses on both nonenergy benefits and behavioural aspects related to energy efficiency mainly focus on individual companies and hardly touch whole supply chains, in particular from food industry. To contribute to closing this research gap, this paper investigates both aspects more in-depth along the cold supply chain of the food sector, thereby moving from the single company perspective toa full supply chain assessment. For this purpose, 61 semi-structuredinterviews with companies active in cold supply chains were carried out across various member states of the European Union. Findings from the interviews suggest that energy efficiency is presently considered more strongly in individual companies than along entire cold supply chains. While non-energy benefits appear to be relevant for both individual companies and the cold supply chain as a whole, awareness along the chain seems to be lower in comparison. Further complexity along thecold supply chain seem added by the prevalence of various behaviouralaspects which may impede an easy implementation of energy efficiency measures.