Value engineering ‘holding back’ green kit sales

The value engineering of sustainable kitchen equipment for inferior alternatives has been named by catering equipment professionals as the single biggest issue holding back investment in sustainable kit.

Product substitution — when an energy-saving product is specified for a job, then replaced later to save money — continues to have a major influence on the rate at which true energy efficient equipment is being adopted.

A recent poll of CESA members revealed that 70% of suppliers think product substitution is a serious problem for the equipment supply chain.

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Answering a follow-up question, 44% felt that emphasising the life-time energy savings, or a system that gave clear and comparable life time costs, would help solve the issue.

9% suggested government incentives were the answer to preventing value engineering from halting the sustainability charge.

Over 230 delegates attended the recent CESA conference, where live electronic vox-pop polling took place for the first time, with the majority agreeing that there is a growing need for a common standard to benchmark energy savings to make it easier for end-users to understand the benefits.

33% of respondents said the drive for more environmentally sustainable practices will create new product and service opportunities, while 39% said it would encourage innovation. A massive 81% agreed that sustainability will be a key to growing their business.

“This research gives a snapshot of attitudes and it is very pleasing that, overall, the view towards sustainability is so positive,” says Nick Oryino, the new chair of CESA. “However, there are divisions. For example, asked what impact sustainability will have on their business, 7% of delegates said it will reduce their profits and 10% said it will increase theirs. Meanwhile the majority said it will improve their competitive positioning.”

Over half of respondents think that ‘product and service innovators’ are the key skill sets that the industry needs to recruit to ensure a sustainable future, and that work needs to done on developing programmes and apprentice schemes to ensure a ‘strong talent pipeline.’

There’s a difference of opinions when it comes to the best way to promote sustainability and sell ‘green’ equipment and supplies to foodservice operators.

23% want standardised energy efficiency tests, so that buyers can compare like for like. 22% think that tax incentives to end-purchasers is the best encouragement, while another 22% think that better understanding of the issue amongst customers is the way forward.

At 14% the next most popular solution was legislation on performance.

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