There were more than 120 companies showcased in this year's North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) "What's Hot! What's Cool!" new product gallery.
The show took place Feb. 7-9 in Orlando, Fla. New products featured at this year's show included labor and energy-efficient features, food safety characteristics, life cycle costs and more.
"What's Hot! What's Cool! provides a tremendous value for all foodservice professionals, buyers and sellers alike," said Kevin Fink, NAFEM Show '13 chair. "The gallery showcases some of the most innovative products and services on the market."
Among those featured in this year's gallery and beyond on the show floor were:
Vitamix's Automatic Mix 'n Machine is a hands-free, commercial-grade mixer can incorporate candies, syrups, cookies and other hard-to-mix ingredients into hard or soft-service ice cream and yogurt. The equipment is fully programmable with an easy-to-use LCD instruction screen, a reinforced agitator spoon to consistently blend soft-serve ice cream and candy mix-ins, and a clear door that allows consumers to watch the product being blended. The spoon is removed with each blend to reduce the chance of cross contamination. Unlike traditional style mix-in machines, Vitamix's fully-programmable Automatic Mix'n Machine does not require operator attention.
"With the growing smoothie and blended dessert trend in full gear, the Automatic Mix'n Machine offers foodservice providers a unique blending system that allows them to take advantage of this trend by expanding their menu offerings with highly profitable frozen treats," said Lisa Klein, vice president of Commercial Sales, Vitamix.
Delfield GoCart, showcased by Manitowoc, was developed to allow operators to take their brand to customers in a highly adaptable, functional and customizable food kiosk. The GoCart is a complete module system with options of heated, refrigerated, frozen or ambient storage to allow the kiosk to adapt to operators' needs. Additional options for operators include a fully incorporated a wash area, water/waste utilities, lighting, locking overstructure, custom graphics and even an entertainment system.
Also showcased by Manitowoc, Lincoln's FastBake Impinger ovens feature a patented airflow technology designed to reduce baking times for items such as pizza by up to 30 percent. FastBake Impinger ovens use a combination of hot air under pressure that literally surrounds the food. FastBake technology allows the ovens to provide a higher level of heat transfer to food, thus reducing cook times. FastBake technology has been shown to increase baking capacity by as much as 15 to 30 percent, tackling one of the foremost operational issues faced by pizza operators today, the need for high-volume, high-quality production
Ice-O-Matic previewed two new, large-capacity 22-inch cubers at the NAFEM show. The new ICE0926R and ICE0726R are small footprint, high-volume ice machines designed for use on a wide range of 22-inch and 26-inch fountain dispensers, including touchscreen and multiflavor models. In addition, the machines can be installed side-by-side on a 48-inch or 60-inch bin, providing up to 1,800 pounds of capacity and redundancy of operation while taking up less space.
Hatco introduced the new, energy-efficient Electric Salamander, which is specially designed with stainless steel construction to provide users with the option to cook, grill, reheat, or keep foods hot. The Electric Salamander comes with three high-powered infrared ribbon heating elements. The cook function uses the full intensity of the overhead heating element to cook food, while the hold function, which has eight programmable heat levels, uses the two outside overhead heating elements at a lower intensity to maintain the food temperature reached during the cooking cycle. The heating elements are independently-controlled, and activate only when a food plate comes in contact with the plate detection bar.
Champion Industries has introduced the DH5000T Dual NSF listed dishwasher and Pot/Pan washer designed especially to accommodate taller cooking equipment including sheet pans and large pots and pans. The ENERGY STAR-qualified DH5000T high temperature hood-type dishwashing machine features sloped hood, electronic controls, rinse sentry, user friendly auto start, interchangeable stainless steel wash and rinse arms, up to 55 racks/hour and uses only 0.85 gallons of water per rack. Rinse Sentry technology is standard and ensures the rinse temperature is always correct, as well as a single point connection and signal connections for chemicals, and vent fan. The machine is field convertible from three to single phase or from straight to corner operation.
Berner International Corp. expanded its In-Ceiling Mount (ICM) Series by adding the FCB, the HVAC industry's first in-ceiling flush mount air curtain rated for doorways with up to 16-foot-high ceilings in commercial facilities. The improved velocity also allows for lower speed operation resulting in up to half the decibel ratings and energy consumption of competing in-ceiling air curtains. The ICM Series comes standard with Berner's proprietary Intelliswitch , a digital control package that features a thermostat, multispeed fan control; time clock and time delay.
T&S Brass's EC-3122 electronic sensor faucet, released last year, is part of the company's ChekPoint sensor faucet line. Water- and energy-saving features include a water shut-off delay, auto timeout, sensor range adjustability and auto flush. Other features include a manual mixing valve built into the faucet body itself, above-deck electronics and programmable controls, and a vandal-resistant aerator that flows at a rate of 2.2 gpm.
"The EC-3122 was designed to take sensor faucets to the next level, in terms of sustainability, durability and consistent performance," said Richard Fahey, T&S Brass Brass marketing product manager. "The tremendous industry response, and the many accolades this product has earned, are proof that we achieved our design and engineering goal."
Blendtec's Stealth blender was introduced to a test market in 2012 and is now available for full-scale distribution. It is described as quiet, powerful and versatile.
"The Stealth blender makes smoothies at the decibel level of normal conversation," said Tom Dickson, Blendtec founder.
Hobart has launched its new Energy Star-qualified Advansys LXe Undercounter Warewasher, available in both high-temp and low-temp models. Designed to deliver best-in-class cleaning power and water and energy savings in a compact space, the Advansys LXe represents a new warewashing solution for bars, coffee shops, restaurants and care facilities.
"Operators can choose the standard LXe model or upgrade to the Advansys LXe for advanced energy, water and cost savings compared with traditional undercounter warewashers," said Carrie Hoff, product line manager, Hobart Warewash. "All three models occupy a small undercounter footprint and include features that simplify operation and maintenance, which can help the operator achieve greater levels of efficiency and productivity."
Kitchen Brains' (FASTIMER) TT-500 Touch Screen Timer allows operators to: set and store customized cooking timer alerts; tailor timers for the entire menu; time multiple batches of product with support for multiple stages per product; enable virtually unlimited menu expansion with the touchscreen interface; and utilize build cards to visually guide your crew on how to assemble products.
Vulcan's PowerFry VK Series Fryer just received the Gas Foodservice Equipment Network (GFEN) 2013 Blue Flame Award for Product of the Year. The PowerFry Fryer features FivePass heat transfer system — transfers heat to the oil more efficiently, resulting in faster recovery and reduced cooking time; SoftStart ignition system — heats cold oil gently, extending oil life; lower flue temperature — decreases kitchen A/C costs; and a significantly lower idle rate to reduce gas consumption and saves energy
"As a leading commercial equipment provider, it's our mission to help foodservice professionals streamline their operational needs with technologically advanced products," said Paul Forrest, general manager of Vulcan's Fryer Cooking Division. "The PowerFry VK Series Fryer exemplifies our efforts to design equipment that seamlessly increases producitivity, reduces energy costs and delivers exceptional cooking results."
Hamilton Beach Commercial's SmartServe Blend in Cup can blend mixes directly in a cup, with no jar required. According to the company, "no jars means no more costly equipment replacements, less food waste, less water waste and less hands-on labor time."
Check out some photos from the show floor.
Read more about foodservice equipment.
Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.