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IN-DEPTH: Reaching fryer consciousness

Jestic – Henny Penny – Evo Elite crop
Henny Penny’s Evolution Elite only requires a compact fry pot, with 40% less oil capacity than a traditional 20/22-litre open fryer.

Sustainability has never been higher up the agenda of not just the foodservice industry, but the entire global conversation. Each move towards eco-friendliness is an additional measure that can help to limit the impact of climate change, the effects of which are being felt with more extreme weather events.

So how does this filter through to the catering equipment supply chain? In the professional fryers sphere, green efforts can focus on for example reducing the use of oil, or making the manufacturing process itself more efficient.

One major name in this sector is US-based Henny Penny. It is taking the lead on environmentally friendly production, as its main manufacturing facility in Ohio switched to 100% renewable energy in 2020.

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The brand is supplied to the UK via Jestic Foodservice Solutions. Culinary director Michael Eyre said of Henny Penny: “Sustainability and longevity is central to the design and operation of their fryer ranges. Henny Penny open and pressure fryers are engineered to last and are constructed from high quality stainless steel. In fact, each fry pot comes with a 7 year warranty and some Henny Penny fryers have been operating for 25 years with regular servicing and maintenance. Henny Penny fryers are also easy to service so they can keep running more efficiently for longer, avoiding the need to replace the equipment.”

He believes: “When it comes to sustainable operation, the innovative design of Henny Penny’s Evolution Elite really excels. The smaller fry pot has 40% less oil capacity than a traditional 20/22-litre open fryer – and the life of this expensive resource is extended through regular filtration and oil top-up technologies.”

Henny Penny’s most recent innovation in terms of energy and oil efficiency is the Velocity series – a new pressure fryer, designed from the ground up to lower the cost of high volume frying. Eyre explained: “The smaller fry pot means 25% less oil is used compared to a traditional eight-head fryer. In addition the Velocity series filters oil automatically after every cook cycle depending on the program, considerably extending oil life and productivity.”

Product design is not the only way that fryers can be greener – installation and operation can make a vital difference too. So how is Jestic working with distributors to ensure that this is the case? According to Eyre: “We support our dealers at every stage to ensure that fryers are installed and operated as efficiently as possible. This process starts with demonstrations and supporting trials so dealers and end users can be sure they have the best solution to optimise their frying operation.

“We also offer product training both in person at one of our two test kitchens and remotely with online and hard copy materials – and always tailored to suit operators’ requirements. Our support for dealers continues with our preventative and reactive maintenance services from our factory-trained engineers, both in and outside of warranty periods, to keep fryers working efficiently.”

But when a fryer reaches the end of its usable life, can those materials be recovered and regenerated to contribute to circular economy principles? Eyre detailed: “Henny Penny fryers are built to last and withstand the rigours of commercial kitchens, so operators will enjoy many years of trouble-free operation before a fryer needs to be replaced and recycled. Henny Penny fryers are constructed from 304 stainless steel which is infinitely recyclable, so when it eventually comes to the end of its working life, materials can be recycled to create a new high performance Henny Penny fryer.”

Blue Seal offers additional Filtamax filtration units that are designed to improve oil life.

Elsewhere, cooking equipment manufacturer Blue Seal considers it important for foodservice sites to have a fryer in a restaurant kitchen, as it feels this is essential for the average pub scenario regarding chip production, fried fish, onion rings and speciality battered products. So to make sure the appliance is as resource-light as possible, Blue Seal’s national accounts manager David Chesshire advised: “Operators should consider when purchasing a fryer and its oil, the oil capacity against production rate, burner efficiency and recovery rate, as well as a true cool zone in gas fryers to help prolong the oil life. Blue Seal V Ray gas fryers are our premium fryer and burner system, which come at a higher price compared to some competitors’ gas models. However the fuel efficiency, performance and stainless steel high build quality far outweigh the additional initial cost to the operator.”

The Blue Seal Evolution gas fryers GT60, GT46 and GT45 all use the brand’s patented ‘V Ray’ burner system. This uses infra-red technology, radiating the heat into the tank, only heating the area of oil the baskets are sitting in. Chesshire outlined: “This promotes incredibly fast recovery rates, high efficiency for limited fuel consumption and promotes a true cool zone in conjunction with the specially-shaped tank. The true cool zone prevents crumb and food debris that drops below the batter plates from continuous cooking and carbonising, which in turn helps prevent the degrading of oil quality. This all promotes considerable cost saving for the operator with fuel and oil, as well as time efficiency, producing the finished products.”

Blue Seal also offers additional filtration units called Filtamax that are designed to improve oil life, have mobility and space-saving features as well as including powerful pumps and full stainless steel construction. Chesshire summed up: “Moisture, fatty acids and food residue contaminate cooking oil, spoiling fried food taste and causing the oil to smoke. Blue Seal Filtamax removes impurities, quickly and effectively, maintaining consistent high cooking quality and extension of oil life.

“Their carbon pads remove sub-micron particles down to 0.5 microns – this is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand. Daily filtering of fryer oil using carbon filters can massively increase the lifespan of the oil, creating large cost savings and create more consistent finish and taste to the food product.”

Palux’s Frystar operates at 1kW power to every
1 litre of oil.

Over at Euro Catering, it works with German manufacturer Palux to supply the brand’s foodservice equipment to the UK market. On the subject of fryer sustainability, Euro Catering’s sales director Justin Towns commented: “Sustainability is the biggest topic, globally these days. All manufacturers are obliged to consider this for not only the end of the equipment’s life in terms of recycling the materials, but also the energy efficiency during the equipment’s life. The German-built Palux Frystar approaches both the areas.

“Palux fryers are made with 99% recyclable materials. In terms of energy efficiency they score highly.”

He further detailed: “The one area that must never be compromised is the fryers’ ability to perform, so transfer of heat to the oil is particularly important. When an operator buys equipment, the energy efficiency is important, but more importantly it needs to be able to perform the task, which may be compromised if the operator chooses a lower power unit.

“If a fryer is designed with a large fry tank but a low kW rating then the food quality is often compromised. A top performing fryer should be operating at 1kW power to every 1 litre of oil. The Palux Frystar is built with this principle and for even higher throughput can have a boosted kW element as an option to give an operator better piece of mind in performance.

“With the oval shaped element this ensures there is maximum surface area contact with the oil. The fry tank itself has a high density insulation surrounding it, which makes both these aspects give a physical edge in energy efficiency.”

Palux’s ‘Plus’ controller can contribute to energy saving as well as prolonging the life of the oil. Towns explained: “Firstly on heat-up, the melt cycle ensures that the oil gently warms at half power up, and during the operational period when the controller does not detect and temperature drop in the oil – as occurs when the food is first dropped into the oil – for a set time, it goes to a standby mode and lowers the oil temperature to a lower set point until the next cook cycle is required.”

The brand’s fryers are all electric and can be supplied with a ‘Commando’ plug fitted to make them a plug and play unit. Towns added: “They can also be pre-programmed and have an oil utilisation period setting to alert the operator when the oil should be changed. Because of the different sizes available the designer can consider 200, 300 and 400mm-wide units.”

In terms of circular economy considerations, he evaluated: “Making equipment from recyclable materials is nothing new for Palux, in fact as a responsible manufacture it is a pre-requisite. Germany often leads the world in ‘green’ manufacturing which is often legislative. The 99% recycling of the Frystar components enforces this.”

Mareno’s new IFry features oil filters with software that enables the oil in its tank to be filtered at 185°C in 5 minutes.

At Grande Cuisine, the Mareno brand it supplies into the UK has made recent strides on minimising resources usage. In the new Mareno IFry range, models with oil filters incorporate software that enables the oil in the tank to be filtered at 185°C in 5 minutes (and therefore also during service). In the filling and emptying phases, thanks to an accessory loading/unloading kit, the oil can be sucked out of the container in which it was purchased and transferred to the tank, designed to require no effort on the part of the operator. When the oil needs changing the process can be repeated in reverse and then it can be transferred to a waste disposal tank without any risk of spilling it on the floor.

Grande Cuisine MD Steve Hobbs feels: “The integrated oil filtering system is an important feature not only because it increases oil life, and reduces both oil and energy consumption, but also because unfiltered oil has to go through a completely different, and separate, filtration and disposal process, which is likely to prove more expensive.”

He cited the IFry range as being designed to standardise the cooking process, boost productivity, and improve food quality. The models have a 7-inch electronic touchscreen display, with a graphic interface, that allows the operator to keep a constant eye on the temperature of the oil in the tank, and the program settings, and cook with a +/-1°C level of accuracy, both of which should extend oil life. The models fitted with mechanical lifts are designed to allow the two baskets to be lifted when the set cooking time has been reached. This should ensure that there is no risk of the product overcooking and again help to extend the life of the oil.

Hobbs emphasised: “Grande Cuisine has its own in-house technical and installation team which is on hand to provide dealers with all the information and guidance that they need. Our sales team is also there to provide training on all of our equipment.”

And on the subject of materials reuse options, he added: “Manufacturers of components and products are giving more and more consideration to both the circular economy and recycling. In fact, we can say that in all of our products the quantity of recyclable materials is greater than non-recyclable ones. Mareno is registered as a producer with the WEEE (Waste of Electric and Electronic Equipment) consortium, which naturally concerns the issue of electrical/electronic equipment when it reaches the end of its life.”

Oil toil

Effective oil filtration is key to reducing the amount of oil used in fryers and maintaining the quality of food too. Removing food particles and contaminants such as carbon can extend the lifetime of cooking oil (thus reducing costs), improve health and safety, and improve food quality.

Filta’s FiltaFry service offers a regular visit from a cooking oil filtration operator.

However, it’s not always as simple as it seems – many oil filtration systems require the expensive purchase of a self-operated machine which is permanently stored in the kitchen, taking up valuable storage space.

One company which is aiming to overcome these challenges is Filta Group, which has developed FiltaFry – offering a regular visit from a cooking oil filtration operator.

Commercial director Edward Palin explained: “In just 20 minutes, an operator can remove oil, filter the cooking oil at cooking temperature, deliver a vacuum-based clean of the fryer and return to operation, with no need to wait for the oil to cool down and heat back up. This means a cleaner, safer kitchen, better quality oil and therefore better food quality – all with minimum disruption to the kitchen. And it’s all possible thanks to our specially developed mobile micro-filtration system.

“Filta’s unique fryer management and cooking oil filtration service can save time, reduce costs and radically improve the quality of cooking oil. It’s the perfect solution in any busy kitchen.”

Tags : blue sealEuro CateringfiltafryersGrande Cuisinehenny pennyjesticprime cooking equipmentsustainability
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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