Foodservice Equipment Reports

SPECIAL REPORT: Editors’ Picks: 15 Products To Review Again

This time every year we look back at the most interesting and exciting new products we saw the year before. It’s a fun way to revisit items that got a splash during the year but may have been missed by some of our readers.

Lucky for us, 2011 was a good year for product introductions, so we had plenty of things to consider for this Editors’ Picks story. The year started with product intros galore at The NAFEM Show in February, and throughout the year we saw energy- and labor-saving items hitting the market.

Among the products below—which represent the major foodservice equipment categories—you’ll find a couple of purely high-tech approaches, one designed to help you track energy usage across multiple sites and the other designed to wirelessly monitor and report food safety tracking.

Among the heavy equipment in our picks below, take a look at two new, innovative fryers, an advanced ice machine line, a unique oil filtration approach developed in Germany and adapted for the United States, and a few other things you’ll want to read about yourself.

We’ll continue walking the trade show this year to find the most useful and efficient products we can and report on them in the magazine and at our website. Here’s to an innovative year for foodservice equipment!


Introduced at The NAFEM Show, the new EcoArch Ventilator takes the efficiency of EcoArch and adds ultraviolet light to convert grease particles—those that make it into the duct—into ash. Efficient capture is still aided by smart placement of front-mounted, high-velocity cartridges. The UV section is accessible from outside the hood, which means cleaning and upkeep are easier. A patented, high-intensity bulb located at the duct collars allows for more efficient grease reduction and maintenance, says Avtec. Meanwhile, EcoArch maintains its energy-efficient design with an aerodynamic arch top that dramatically reduces the amount of turbulence created within the canopy. In addition, the exhaust plenum is located in the front of the hood, which further supports low exhaust requirements but also provides easier and safer access to the filter medium for cleaning purposes. As an option you can choose to locate controls on the outside of the hood to facilitate easy adjustments.

Avtec/Unified * 888/994-7636


Trust the folks at Coca-Cola Co. to come up with new ways to use their products. The Freestyle machine lets customers choose from more than 100 carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and juices and lets them mix and match shots of as many as they like to create totally custom beverages. Even more amazing, the company says the new machine fits in the same footprint as an eight-valve dispenser. The Freestyle capitalizes on the same micro-dosing technology hospitals use to meter medications, which allows the machine to use syrups that are nearly 14 times more concentrated than conventional bag-in-box products. The system yields the same number of servings from a 46-oz. cartridge as you’d get with a 5-gal. bag-in-box. Customers use a touch screen on the front of the dispenser to customize their drink choices, from raspberry-flavored Dasani water to cherry-vanilla Coke Zero.

The Coca-Cola Co. * 800/438-2653


We don’t often choose cookware for our Editors’ Picks roundup, but this item was worth it. Eneron made a big splash a couple of years ago with an innovative stockpot that turned the energy-efficiency question on its head and promptly won recognition at the 2009 Kitchen Innovations Award competition. While the entire industry wrestled with equipment efficiency, Eneron studied the cookware, and decided a ribbed heat sink on the bottom of a pot would greatly increase energy efficiency and cut cook times. The Turbo Pot was born. Test data from the Food Service Technology Center confirmed 50% greater energy efficiency and cooktimes cut in half. So why did this technology make our picks for ’11? Now the company has a full line of stockpots, sauce pans, frying pans, etc., all with the distinctive heat-sink bottoms, which makes the technology even more accessible for a wider audience.

Eneron Inc. * 650/930-9993


Big news for lighting, and hoods. As we went to press with the March 2012 issue this item was being introduced at the AHR Expo: a first-of-its-kind, recessed LED light fixture that’s temp-rated to 176 degrees F. What’s so special about that? With its high-heat tolerance, the eco-friendly L82 Series LED Hood Light can replace traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting. Supplied with a prismatic tempered glass lens and two 22W LED lamps, the hood light has the highest lumens per watt in the industry, says Flame Gard, and at 4½” high, the fixture is suited for limited overhead clearance applications. The light features a steel housing with a white, baked-enamel finish and a satin s/s face frame to match the interior of the cooking hood. The light is offered in a 4’ model, and 2’ and 3’ models are in development. The two 22W LED lamps can save up to 30% over standard T8 fluorescent lamps, says Flame Gard, while providing a total light output of 4,000 lumens. These fixtures are UL and NSF listed for use in commercial cooking hoods, and they meet all of the requirements for NFPA 96 and NEC 410.

Flame Gard/Component Hardware * 800/526-3694


Introduced in early 2011, the OCF30 30-lb. fryer relies on an oil-conserving design to use 40% less oil and 10% less energy than its 50-lb. fryer counterparts, says Frymaster. The OCF30 comes in both gas and electric versions with full- and split frypots and built-in filtration. The SMART 4U 3000 controller offers such features as monitoring of oil quality, oil life, equipment performance and more. The controller works with you and for you, tracking filtration cycles and prompting you to observe the filtration schedule. An optional Oil Attendant feature automatically monitors oil levels and replenishes as needed so your crew doesn’t have to top-off manually. Meanwhile, the FootPrint PRO filtration system removes frying byproducts to extend oil viability. An open-pot design allows full access to the frypot for easy cleaning, which in turn helps your staff manage oil life. The OCF30 is available in 2- to 4-battery configurations.

Frymaster/Manitowoc * 800/221-4583


Would you like to be able to keep track of all your refrigeration at multiple sites? Monitor temperatures? Update databases? Create custom reports? Get diagnostics? Make adjustments remotely? Heatcraft has unveiled a web-based system that lets you do all that and more, through a single website, with your regular browser. The Heatcraft Vantage Console gives you real-time data around the clock and is compatible with Heatcraft’s Beacon II refrigeration system and the Mojave Advanced Hot Gas Defrost system.

Heatcraft * 800/537-7775


Hoshizaki has offered ice machines for many years, of course, and more recently added a small group of efficient warewashing products to its stable. For example, Hoshizaki's Energy Star-certified, high-temp Jet Wash Dishwasher features the company’s patented high pressure nozzles, six directional wash arms (three above, three below), and separate wash and rinse pumps. At 0.53 gal./rack, the unique design consumes less water than competing models, according to the company, and saves energy and operational costs. It’s a quick, powerful option for smaller operations. The Jet Wash Operation Panel can record data as dishes go through the 53-second cleaning cycle. The single-rack dishwasher requires no tools to remove parts, making it easy to clean and maintain.

Hoshizaki America* 800/438-6087

CCP (Critical Control Point) Minder, a food safety scheduling, logging and reporting tool, is wireless, paperless and doesn’t require a PC connection. The unit comprises the CCP Minder instrument, CCP Planner and the CCP Dashboard. You can program the portable and rugged Minder to accommodate multiple users’ schedules and food safety tasks. To support scheduling, the CCP Minder comes with an easy-to-use Web tool called CCP Planner. It’s a custom electronic form that helps you set up tailored CCP parameters and loadstask schedules via the Bluetooth gateway into the CCP Minder. The program delivers reports, alerts and analysis on a schedule or makes them available on demand. With the CCP Dashboard, you can see every measurement crucial to safe operation. In all, you get an easy way to log and report food safety steps, including temperature monitoring, hygiene and more.

Integrated Control Corp. * 877/422-8788


First, a little background: Pitco incorporated Spin Fresh Centrifugal Fryer technology into a countertop unit a couple years back and then won a 2010 Kitchen Innovations honor for it. Now Pitco has added the technology to a full-size unit called the SpinFryer. As with the countertop unit, the basket in the SpinFryer lifts out of the oil and then, under a clear cover, starts spinning. The unit uses centrifugal force to spin excess oil off of fried goods and sends it back into the fryer vat. The result is fried food with fewer calories; a crispier, less oily flavor profile; and a reduction in oil costs.

Pitco/Middleby * 603/225-6684


Introduced in January 2011, the QII Deck Oven combines gas-powered infrared energy at the bottom and customizable, electric radiant energy at the top for a quick, thorough baking process. By not using blower fans, the oven offers quiet operation and fewer moving parts to be concerned with. You get a graphical control panel that allows you to cook any product with just one touch of the screen. Meanwhile, the infrared heating elements deliver intense energy to raise product temps while the radiant heat delivers consistently browned crusts. The QII Deck is available in single-, double- and triple-stacked models, all standing in a footprint of 116”W x 48”D. A helpful feature, the front sandwich door, adds the option of a shorter cooking cycle, which means you can customize your menu with items that don’t need a full pass of the conveyor. Other details: belt is 32” wide, conveyor speeds range from 2 mins to 25 mins., and cooking temps are adjustable from 200°F to 600°F.

QII Deck * 800/800-6836


Fish is unforgiving if you don’t keep it fresh. Randell’s Iceless Fish Table, a.k.a. Model FX-2WSFSS, allows you to manage temperature throughout the entire fish preparation process, from storing raw fish to preparing, portioning and staging portions for cooking. The unit combines patented FX drawers for bulk storage that can be set to precise refrigerator and freezer temps, plus a chilled work surface and prep rail for staging and holding prior to cooking. You can specify an array of options and accessories.

Randell/Unified * 888/994-7636


You’ve heard about waste heat recovery in foodservice, but have you heard of this? Refcon has developed an approach that consolidates refrigeration and air conditioning components and then reclaims the heat from these processes for space and water heating. Refcon says its factory-assembled system, called EnergyPak, combines high-efficiency refrigeration and A/C compressors, heat exchangers, fans and pumps in a modular cabinet. Also used: glycol cooling solution to replace traditional coolants and ABS piping with insulation to replace copper tubing. Combining these elements reduces the overall number of components needed for each, says Refcon, and captures 90% of the waste heat from cooling and A/C processes. In addition, Refcon says this energy-saving approach helps designers achieve as many as 16 LEED certification credits compared to conventional high-efficiency mechanical systems, which may provide only a few LEED credits each. EnegyPak lets you monitor all functions remotely and comes with an alarm system to let you know when something needs attention.

Refcon * 201/750-5060


The new Prodigy Advanced Sustainability line of icemakers from Scotsman offers a variety of features to support sustainable operations. Integrated controls help optimize water and energy efficiency as well as provide enhanced service diagnostic data. A programmable seven-day, 15-point system allows you to manage ice levels so you can choose the amount of ice you need and when you want to make it. An advanced network control system provides information about machine performance history, and if an operational issue arises, Advanced Sustainability controls can self-diagnose the problem. Current machine status is easy to assess with five LED-lighted universal symbols, and a tone/buzzer feature supports those lighted symbols. Meanwhile, the patented WaterSense adaptive purge control reduces scale buildup for a longer time between cleanings, says Scotsman. Easy-to-remove panels provide clear access to internal components, and a reusable air filter removes easily from the outside. Icemaker components carry a 3-yr. warranty on parts and labor.

Scotsman Ice Systems * 800/726-8762


There’s innovative, and then there’s really innovative. Systemfiltration Inc., based in New Jersey with parent headquarters in Germany, has unveiled a truly new and different kind of oil filtration. The Vito Oil Filtration system takes the filter to the oil rather than vice versa. Just take the hand-held filter, immerse it into the vat, and push the button. Vito filters the oil, under pressure at 30 psi, right there in the vat, at cooking temperature. With a filtering cycle of less than 5 mins., Vito will filter the oil five to eight times, depending on vat capacity, extracting particles down to 5 microns, which is finer than typical filters that trap particles around 20 microns and bigger. The result is much cleaner oil, longer oil life and better food flavor and quality. The Vito 50, sized for vats up to 50 lbs., will filter 110 lbs./min.; the Vito 80, for larger vats, ups that to 210 lbs./min..

Systemfiltration Inc. * 908/995-4036


What happens when two truly innovative companies enter into a partnership? Innovation, maybe? Wood Stone, the stone-hearth cooking people, and Ideas Well Done, advanced concept developers, have teamed up to produce Ohmic Green Technologies. Two of the new products are ohmic steamers. The basic idea: pass an electric current directly through water, which instantly, simply and energy-efficiently creates heat that turns the water to steam. Instant on, instant off, without the usual energy losses of idling, mechanical losses, etc. Simple design means simple cleaning. A removable-container steamer works with, for example, standard steam pans or fractionals, or other containers. A reservoir steamer uses pulsed or constant steam to let you do portion steaming, retherm, etc.

Wood Stone Ideas * 800/988-8074

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