What’s going to be hot in the commercial foodservice equipment segment this year? Here’s our prediction for the trends set to shape buying behaviour over the next 12 months.
1. Let the juice loose
It’s likely to be a big year for juicer and blender sales as demand for healthy smoothies and juices continues apace. It’s not just cafes and QSRs stepping up their offerings in this segment, independent ‘juicing station’ vendors are also cropping up in shopping malls and stations, buoyed by the low cost of entry and minimal prep space needed. Kiosk-based Fuel Juice Bars was recently named as the ‘fastest growing’ foodservice brand after tripling the number of sites it operates in the last three years.
2. Log it or lose it
Every supplier talks a good energy efficiency game, but expect operators to really begin scrutinising these claims through the adoption of remote monitoring and data logging technology. CHR has already seen success with its Eco-Chef suites that monitor energy consumption, while the likes of Checkit and Abacus Guradian offer proven solutions in the temperature monitoring space.
3. Ventilation on demand
Ventilation systems can contribute up to a fifth of a commercial kitchen’s energy bills, with many operators guilty of leaving them on even when there is no direct cooking activity taking place. Expect to see more end-users gravitating to demand-based solutions that react solely to the level of cooking taking place.
4. Beans means business
Every market reaches a saturation point at one stage or another, but commercial coffee machine suppliers certainly don’t need to worry about that just yet. Research from analyst firm Allegra suggests that the number of branded and independent coffee shops in the UK will reach 27,000 in the next five years, 9,000 more than it is now.
5. Magic circle
Induction isn’t a new trend, but it is likely to gather even more pace during 2015 as price-points continue to remain attractive and more operators become comfortable with the technology. A few years ago it felt like induction growth hinged on sales of cooking suites, but we’re now seeing everything from portable units to induction woks really starting to fly.
6. Cold clarity
Events in the refrigeration sector will be worth monitoring in 2015, with big changes in European legislation concentrating the minds of manufacturers supplying the market. The eventual arrival of a domestic-style energy ratings system will provide greater clarity around purchasing, even though it will take several years for EU legislation to be fully implemented.
7. Small steps
Whether it’s 700mm cooking suites, 620mm dishwashers or slimline refrigeration cabinets, demand for catering equipment that fits into smaller spaces shows no signs of abating, particularly in London where new restaurants continue to spring up in buildings that were never constructed with a foodservice operation in mind.
8. Need for speed
Speed and flexibility: two things that every operator — especially those in the QSR and fast casual segments — puts high on their list of priorities. Cue the rise of innovative hybrid ovens and rapid cooking appliances, such as those devised by the likes of Atollspeed, Ovention and Manitowoc, as operators invest in equipment that meets their throughput goals and delivers a quality finished product.
9. Open house
More operators will be considering equipment that is attractive and functional enough to be sited front-of-house in 2015. This won’t just be led by the general appetite for open kitchens, but by developments on the high street where brands such as Pizza Hut and KFC are bidding to appeal to larger audiences with new equipment prototypes and novel approaches to kitchen design.
10. Braced for BIM
There is no doubt that awareness around BIM is set to grow in 2015 as government deadlines for compliance on public sector projects loom. Manufacturers slow to create BIM models of their products for use in kitchen design could find themselves under-specified as consultants and distributors opt for correctly-formatted models easily accessible through a BIM library.