Ali Group brand Wexiödisk will be making its first appearance at Hotelympia this month since opening a UK subsidiary at the start of last year. Catering Insight caught up with UK and Ireland country manager Simon Frost to talk new launches, market trends and warewashing legislation.
Do you have any major launches or revamps to your warewashing range planned for 2014 that distributors should be aware of? Or will the focus be more about promoting existing ranges that you offer?
2014 is set to be somewhat of an exciting year for Wexiödisk within the UK. A focus on versatility, space saving and most of all energy efficiency will see the brand launch a couple of exciting new units and see a refreshed look and feel to existing appliances within the range.
Heading up the launch program, visitors to Hotelympia this month will have the chance to see the innovative Wexiödisk WD-90 DUO, shown in the UK for the first time, having launched at the Host exhibition last year.
The DUO, a 2-in-1 combi washer, features the precision of a standard wash for the likes of cutlery, crockery, pans and dishes with the power of the latest granule technology, ideal for burnt on, hard to remove food residues. Not only does this remove the need for pre-soaking of tough food deposits, but with a compact footprint of just 850x1063x2416mm (w/d/h) the DUO makes efficient use of limited space within a kitchen environment.
For larger establishments looking for a warewashing appliance capable of managing a constant heavy demand, Wexiödisk will also be introducing a variant of the awarding winning pre-rinse machine as a built-in extra to the WDB-500 flight machine, while for establishments looking for a smaller yet robust undercounter option, Hotelympia will also see the launch of the refreshed Wexiödisk WD-4 undercounter unit.
More and more people in the market seem to suggest that the business outlook for catering/warewashing equipment is improving and will continue to do so as the year progresses. Do you see any evidence to support that?
It would certainly seem that the outlook for the catering equipment market in general is positive, with refit and refurbishment projects that had previously been put on hold now once again being considered, the expansion of many high street chains and the opening of scores of independent outlets around the country, commercial catering equipment remains an important investment.
Since launching into the UK market at the beginning of 2013, Wexiödisk has helped to drive efficiency and standards of cleanliness in the warewashing industry. As a result of which, sales have consistently grown for the installation of new equipment in a wide range of sites. This is a trend the company hopes and expects to continue throughout 2014 and into next year.
Will it be a case of ‘more of the same’ for the UK warewashing market this year? Or do you see any particular changes, challenges or developments that will force suppliers and specifiers to remain on their toes?
One of the biggest challenges that is set to affect the warewashing market in the UK this year is the Food Standards Authority’s focus on hygiene and consistent, monitoring of wash results. There has already been much talk around the introduction of heat labels to ensure the water temperature within the cycle meets the requirement for precise cleaning, and it is widely felt that the discussion around this is likely to escalate within the next year into some form of industry standard or regulation that all warewashing manufacturers must adhere too.
How is Wexiödisk responding to this?
From Wexiödisk’s point of view, the introduction of the unique Web Service Tool to appliances has allowed the operator and the environmental health officer to wirelessly monitor the individual tank temperatures of each wash. Remotely recording these temperatures already allows units to fully comply with HACCP reporting and gives the individual user greater control when monitoring the effectiveness of their warewasher.
Consultations have already begun in relation to the dishwasher aspect of the European Union’s Ecodesign Directive, aimed at regulating minimum energy standards. To what extent should the market be keeping tabs on developments here in 2014 — how significant is it to the future of the category?
As one of the biggest consumers of energy in the commercial kitchen and at a time when all caterers are trying to do their bit for the environment and reduce the cost of overheads, efficiency in warewashing is one of the biggest topics in the category. In fact, so keen are many manufactures to reduce energy consumption, that they are putting their greatest focus on the subject.
For Wexiödisk, having been built on an ethos of environmental planning and gaining a reputation for offering a wide range of high quality warewashers with some truly remarkable energy saving features, the recent trend is something that has been focused on for over 40 years. Should the EU’s Ecodesign Directive come into force this year, the team at Wexiödisk are confident that the impressive features that are already in place throughout the range, will be fully compliant with the new regulations.