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.
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.