Adande Refrigeration’s CEO Nigel Bell reveals how manufacturers can ensure that both their products and their processes can be as green as possible:
Successful development of ‘sustainable’ products requires the same very secret formula as any other product – that is, to be successful you have to develop something that really addresses the needs of customers (even if they have not yet realised how important that need is!).
Adande’s products have been winning awards since 2007’s KFC UK New Supplier of the Year Award, following rigorous testing and development over a 2 year period in all areas of the chain’s kitchen. Fast forward to 2016/17 and the Adande A+ fridge has topped the EU’s official Top Ten rating, being the only professional refrigeration to exceed the ‘A’ energy rating. Remarkably, its success continues, leading Adande to its third Smart Label showcase for a product at Host Milan in 2017.
The idea of growth in products driven solely by the fact they are ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ has lost most, if not all, of the momentum it had. The cold hard realities of the marketplace take over. Energy is costly, it will get more expensive as world demand grows and renewable sources are used to replace the depleting fossil fuels.
Energy-saving equipment can save the operator real money, and that is driving its use. In developing countries like China and India, marginal electrical generation is very expensive. In addition, legislation is being introduced (eg. energy labelling in Europe) to reduce inefficient use of energy and help enable future growth.
For three generations, the evolution of cold storage technology has, in the main, been component-led, with the fundamental principles of refrigeration remaining unchanged. Improvements have come about from advances in compressor and evaporator technology, as well as the introduction of EC fans and electronic controllers. There have also been developments in refrigerants used in the industry, but these were largely dictated by regulation and legislation.
Research shows, in a conventionally equipped kitchen, some 25% of fresh food can be thrown away in the worst cases; food that has had to be grown, picked, washed, packed, stored, shipped and stored again before delivery. How unsustainable is that?
Many restaurant and hotel kitchens, especially overseas in hot climates, are just too hot for conventional refrigeration. Professional foodservice operators recognise these shortcomings and adjust their storage times accordingly, with the result that perfectly good food is discarded only a few hours after being placed in the kitchen fridge or freezer, simply because the equipment cannot hold temperature during a busy service.
Refrigeration products that ‘Hold the Cold’ air in require less energy to maintain the desired temperature – yet it is the impact that the exceptional temperature stability on food quality, or the modularity and flexibility, that convinces both judges and customers alike. A product that offers only ‘sustainability’ will not have the same appeal.
Having said all of that, it does help focus the thinking of our talented engineers and designers who are working on innovations and know that sustainability and energy efficiency are written into the values and culture of the company they work for.