Energy Efficiency

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 445–464 | Cite as

Energy efficiency in the food retail sector: barriers, drivers and acceptable policies

  • Christopher Dixon-O’Mara
  • Lisa Ryan
Original Article


The objectives of this research are to examine empirically the drivers and barriers to energy efficiency measures in an important energy-using sector, namely, the food retail sector, and to gain an understanding of more effective energy efficiency policies in this sector. Although food retailers consume a significant amount of energy due to the specialised needs of stores, there has been little research on the barriers and drivers of energy efficiency measures in this sector. A survey of small food retailers was carried out to understand attitudes to energy efficiency measures and to examine the acceptability of different energy efficiency policy options. In addition, external stakeholders were consulted in order to validate and contextualise the results of the survey. We find that there is a complementary relationship between energy efficiency barriers and drivers for food retailers and that it is remarkably coherent. We identify policies, such as subsidies and support for ESCOs, that exploit both the complementarities between barriers and drivers and are acceptable to food retailers also. This methodology should help identify and design more effective policies to deliver energy efficiency improvements in the food retail and other services subsectors.


Energy efficiency policy Food retail sector Policy acceptance Energy Economics Energy efficiency barriers and drivers Empirical study 



This work has emanated from research supported in part by a research grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the SFI Strategic Partnership Programme Grant number SFI/15/SPP/E3125 and in part under the PRTLI ERC:GI programme.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Supplementary material

12053_2017_9577_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.School of Economics, Energy InstituteUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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