There is no shortened form of this word as there is in English (refrigerator→fridge)? Do Russians not abbreviate words as frequently as English speakers?
To me, it is different in terms of what the new information is (aka the theme-rheme distinction). Since both languages happen to express this difference, you are expected to follow the suit.
To put it simply: “the food is in the fridge” is a sentence about “the food” and we learn where it is; while “there is food in the fridge” is a sentence about “the fridge” or maybe a general statement without any prior context.