The number of Budgens boasting chiller cabinets with doors is set to treble this year after wholesaler Musgrave Group gave the green light to their rollout to new and refurbished stores.

A dozen Budgens currently have doors fitted to their refrigeration units and 20 more are set to follow under a new recommendation from Musgrave Group that fridges in new and refurbished stores should have doors - although retailers can choose to opt out.

The move follows a trial by Musgrave last year under which free doors were fitted to three relatively new Budgens.

Musgrave GB head of store development Keith Warburton said the trial provided evidence that sales did not suffer and energy bills were dramatically cut.

“We measured sales and energy costs before and after,” he said. “There was no negative impact on sales, a significant reduction in energy costs, and an increased temperature in store.”

Dom Yarnold, whose Trinity Mead store took part in the trial last year, said he would fit doors to his new store when it opened in Rugby.

“The general opinion is that any barrier between the product and customer is a bad thing,” he said. “But we didn’t see any drop in sales and customers said they look smart, the store is warmer, and that they support eco-friendly measures.”

Yarnold estimated that his weekly electricity costs had fallen by £100.

Musgrave said it had also secured preferential rates with a number of suppliers for retailers who wanted to fit doors to existing chiller units.