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North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) 2011 Trade Show

The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers or NAFEM, is a trade organization that brings together food service suppliers and manufacturers and equips it’s members with everything from products to industry education.   Every two years NAFEM holds a  trade show to showcase the newest equipment and supplies in the food industry.  Last week was the 2011 NAFEM Show, held in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center.  Below is a recap from on all things NAFEM!

In refrigeration, the primary trend still seems to be energy efficiency.  For example, LED lighting is an option on many refrigeration lines now and is even becoming standard on some lines.  New Department of Energy requirements go into effect the second quarter of 2011, and most manufacturers seem to be ready for the changes.

Turbo Air’s booth at the show was full of exciting new refrigeration product launches, including ice cream dipping cabinets, prep units with drawers, and Premiere series reach-ins.  Manitowoc Ice had one of the biggest product launches of the show with their Indigo cube ice machines, with many energy saving features.

Cardinal Glassware introduced Zenix dinnerware, which is a fully tempered line of glass dinnerware.  It looks much like traditional china but has the durability of fully tempered glass with a moderate price point.

Hatco introduced heated zone merchandisers, which use “Spot On” technology to detect when products are on the shelf.  Super fast heat-up keeps the product warm; not having the entire unit on 100% of the time saves energy and money for the end user.

APW Wyott will launch their Champion line of steam tables in April.  These solidly constructed units have either hot or cold wells and come standard with poly cutting boards.  The tables have a lower price point than leading competitors and APW is expecting wide popularity with these.

Known for their forged knives, Wusthof is coming out with their first stamped series.  These knives have a poly handle, are NSF listed and come at a great price point.  Wusthof anticipates that this series of knives wll become a fixture in the commercial kitchen for everyday use.

In the area of beverage equipment and supplies, we learned that the trend right now is hot water products.  With the growing popularity of hot tea, oatmeal and pourover coffee service, the need for instantaneous hot water is in demand.  In fact, Bunn-O-Matic and Wilbur Curtis Company now offer hot water dispensers with “Oatmeal” backlighted graphics.  Service Ideas is also keeping up with the hot tea trend by offering contemporary tea pots, tea presses and tea infusers.

Melamine dinnerware continues to increase its presence in the foodservice industry.  Main melamine vendors – G.E.T., Carlisle, Elite Global Solutions – are seeing the growth in their dinnerware lines.  G.E.T. introduced SuperMel in Mardi Gras colors, while Carlisle launched their Dayton and Sierrus lines.  These new additions to the Central Restaurant Products catalog should help continue this growth.

CresCor introduced a new mobile holding cabinet that can be used for outdoor dining.  While electrical on the interior, the exterior uses propane tanks for heating and a solar panel to run the controls.  It has a heavy duty construction to stand up to the rugged outdoor terrain.

As for furniture, several manufacturers noted that unique seating styles seem to be the trend right now.  Low cost import products have become so prevalent in the market and these manufacturers have realized they can no longer compete.  Instead, they’re trying to set themselves apart from the imports and from their domestic competition by designing unique styles and offering more custom furniture options.

Furniture Imports debuted their booth-in-a-box at the show.  This unassembled booth (which saves on shipping costs) earned a spot in NAFEM’s What’s Hot, What’s Cool pavilion.

In addition to the exhibits, the NAFEM Show also offered several educational seminars that the category managers attended.  Some of the highlights included Tim Sanders’ presentation on Corporate Responsibility and Peter Sheahan’s seminar on Innovative Thinking.  The NAFEM all-industry celebration on Friday provided a “night out” with industry friends, and Huey Lewis and the News got the crowd rockin’ and pumped for the final day of the show.

Post-event wrapup: NAFEM 2009, Orlando

The 2009 NAFEM Show, held in Orlando, Florida, this month at the Orange County Convention Center featured several common trends in foodservice products and equipment, including food safety, green/sustainability trends, multi-function appliances, and appliances that increase productivity and decrease prep time.

Tarrison offers an induction range with a concave surface, like a wok. Chefs love induction ranges for their powerful and precise heating capabilities; hotels and caterers are beginning to embrace them for the safety aspect– no open flame. View Tarrison’s flyer here.(PDF)

Chef Revival – The fully-insulated Rotissi-glove couples protection up to 350°F with the dexterity needed for easy handling. Chef Revival also offers a variety of chef and service apparel—much more than just your average cook’s whites.

Robot Coupe, known for its rugged, high volume food prep blenders, unveiled the new and improved CL50 Ultra. It prepares 1,200 servings in three hours or less and has dozens of attachments for versatile processing.

Hatco – Known for warming equipment, Hatco introduced the Glo-Ray Max Watt Foodwarmer, which holds food at the optimal serving temperature, but with more space and higher clearance. Hatco also introduced a sexy new black heated glass shelf—a heated shelf for self-service with a more modern presentation.

Tradeco – Their trendy square china has been around for a while, but is growing in popularity as chains restaurants struggle to be distinct from their competition. Tradeco also offers a variety of colors in their popular Celebration line of dinnerware.

Vulcan unveiled a new Energy Star certified convection oven and hot holding cabinet in one. Operators can now take food straight from the oven and load it into the cabinet for instant hot-holding. This unit offers energy-savings, labor-savings and space-savings—a triple threat!

No more flipping burgers

Vulcan also had on display a gas (or electric) rapid-recovery griddle, now available with an upper plate, allowing the operator to grill on both sides without flipping.

Blakeslee – I got a chance to see how far we’ve come in dish-machine technology—Blakeslee had on display a dish machine from 1912! The all-manual unit actually had a crank that was used to lower and raise dishes from the tank. Their current line of dish machines are much more advanced—reducing both water usage and the energy used to heat dishwater.

Cleveland Range’s new “Mini” Combi Oven Steamer is, obviously, a convection oven and steamer in one, with dozens of capabilities, including cook-and-hold, slow-cooking, and features that allow the operator to program frequently used recipes into the system for one-touch cooking.

Cooper-Atkins offers dozens of different HACCP monitoring systems for food safety, including TempTrak, which provides around-the-clock monitoring and alerts, and user-friendly software for keeping the numbers organized and stored.

San Jamar introduced the Saf-T-Wash Food Sanitizer, designed to thoroughly sanitize product, increasing the shelf-life of produce and reducing costs by eliminating the need for expensive chemicals. The unit attaches to the faucet, using your water line to combine sanitizer with water. It easily switches back and forth from water to sanitizer.

Scotsman’s new Prodigy Nugget® Ice Machine is one of the most energy-efficient ice machines available. It’s Energy Star certified, and comes equipped with an alert system for operation and maintenance, so in addition to using less water and electricity than typical ice machines, it also helps reduce costs associated with service calls.