Heavy kitchen equipment in the spotlight

Heavy kitchen equipment in the spotlight

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We explore the knock-on effect of Covid-19 on demand for heavy kitchen equipment by talking to eight industry professionals. Here’s what they had to say.

MAHER ABOU KHALIL
Owner of TOMADO S.A.R.L
Lebanon

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
The spread of the virus has resulted in numerous lockdowns, which have negatively impacted the F&B industry. This has subsequently caused a drop in demand for heavy equipment. The economic crisis in Lebanon has only made matters worse.

What are the latest trends in heavy
kitchen equipment?
The trending pieces of equipment are the ones that can be used at home, such as food dryers and mixers. The pandemic encouraged many people to cook at home.

What products do you predict will be popular in 2021?
Due to Covid-19, hygiene has become a priority. Outdoor spaces have also become important due to social distancing protocols. We offer a freestanding, mobile, selfcontained sink that can be placed outside.

HASSAN A. ANOUTI
General manager of Ginox Swiss Kitchen
UAE

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Since Covid-19 hit the UAE in Q1 2020, we have made the safety of our employees a priority, as well as continuing to serve our customers in the UAE and around the world. Taking all safety measures and precautions into account, we were able to maintain our business operations. With supply chain issues across the world and Ginox being the only European kitchen equipment manufacturer in the UAE, we had a slight competitive advantage against other overseas manufacturers.

What are the latest trends in heavy kitchen equipment?
We make sustainability a key focus. Ginox was one of the first companies to use the refrigerant R290 — a very low greenhouse gas. Currently, we are developing a very low energy use system for our hoods, using cold water and enzymes. This is more efficient and wastes less energy than hot water and aggressive synthetic detergents.

What products have you recently
released?
Our newest products are exhaust hoods, which we are able to produce locally in our spacious UAE factory.

What products do you predict will be popular in 2021?
The food and beverage industry seems to be moving further away from the traditional brick-and-mortar concept. Over the last couple of years, more and more dark/cloud kitchens have sprung up. This trend has accelerated due to Covid-19.

KAREN FARHAT
Marketing manager of Fresca LTD
Lebanon

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Amid the pandemic, industries have been developing new solutions to cater to the general safety of individuals. In response to Covid-19, our factory has launched new safety solutions that are dedicated specifically to indoor spaces to prevent the spread of the virus.

What are the latest trends in heavy
kitchen equipment?
The two solutions that we decided to promote are the Safe Air Purifier and Care Light, two innovative products that are intended for small or large indoor areas. These innovations work on eliminating harmful viruses and bacteria in the air.

What products have you recently released?
Our Air Purifier is equipped with an HEPA H14 industrial filter, a three-stage Pro-Life system of filters that effectively eliminate the smallest PM1 particles. Care Light is a UV-C antibacterial lamp that emits intensive ultraviolet radiation to purify water, air and surfaces. It also eliminates the need to use chemical products and guarantees a permanent and high degree of disinfection.

KARIM MOUGHARBEL
Owner of Armobel
Lebanon

How did Covid-19 impact the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Most restaurants and hotels around the world were affected as a result of Covid-19. A lot of new projects were canceled or postponed, which had a direct impact on our industry.

What are the latest trends in heavy kitchen equipment?
The luxury block island is a trend. Most new restaurants have open kitchens for an enhanced dining experience for guests.

What products have you recently
released?
Actually, our new releases are related to the medical industry rather than F&B because of the need for heavy duty refrigerators and freezers to store the Covid-19 vaccine. These products comprise the laboratory refrigerators and the ULT freezers.

What products do you predict will be popular in 2021?
It all depends on how the industry adapts to Covid-19, as safety is becoming a major consideration in all types of food and beverage outlets.

ELIAS RACHED
Regional VP for Middle East & Africa
of MKN

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Covid-19 hit the hospitality and F&B industries hard. Heavy kitchen equipment is often a long-term investment, so we will need to see what happens over the next few months.

What are the latest trends in heavy kitchen equipment?
We have seen a greater need for intelligent equipment that works as a navigation system through the cooking process. This is important due to the shortage of trained staff and the demand to produce the same top-quality food.

What products have you recently released?
Our latest product is FlexiChef 2.0, which has been extensively optimized and is faster than the previous model in almost every aspect. It optimizes time and space and is an efficient, costeffective solution. It also comes with the automatic cleaning system, SpaceClean.

What products do you predict will be
popular in 2021?
The first point is more of a wish than a forecast; we all hope that the industry will recover from the pandemic and normal business will resume. With that in mind, easy cleaning for even stricter hygiene standards, smaller kitchens and smart technology will be the trends to look out for in 2021.

GEORGES WARDE
Export sales manager of Tournus Equipement
France

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
The pandemic has made us think beyond our comfort zone. We have to think about hygiene, social distancing and customer satisfaction simultaneously. Projects have slowed down everywhere, especially in the Middle East.

What are the latest trends in heavy
kitchen equipment?
Demand for hygiene products has increased. We have also seen a rise in demand for electronic water taps and wash basins, particularly outdoor ones.

What products have you recently
released?
As all the international exhibitions were cancelled, we haven’t yet released our latest product. We are waiting to present it.

What products do you predict will be popular in 2021?
We believe that the food delivery business and ghost kitchens will expand even further. Adaptability is the key word during these times.

MELISSA YARMAN
VP operations MEA of CKP Hospitality Consultants
UAE

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Covid-19 motivated a lot of establishments to consider alternative methods of food preparation. This created increased demand for intelligent, multi-use equipment capable of handling volume as well as batch preparation, when needed.

What are the latest trends in heavy kitchen equipment?
The latest trends include intelligent and efficient systems and equipment that can be calibrated or adapted to suit the needs of an ever-changing menu as well as an aggressive business model.

What products do you predict will be popular in 2021?
I anticipate seeing more sustainable design solutions and related equipment that facilitates this objective. I believe there will be an increase in intelligent and efficient equipment that’s green and affordably priced.

JOHAN SCOTT VALENTINE
Corporate director of culinary of Rotana Hotels
UAE

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Not so heavy, but doing a heavy workload in the kitchens, is the PolyScience Sous Vide Professional CHEF Series, which is a must-have item. This machine has changed kitchens forever. It was developed to meet the rigorous requirements of commercial food establishments and is designed to operate 24 hours a day. Because we cook our food to a precise temperature for a specific amount of time, we get very consistent results without the loss of any nutrients.

What products do you predict will be popular in 2021?
Based on our experience over the past year, buffets will no longer be popular. The use of multi-functional equipment will reduce buffet occupied spaces. I believe companies like TPB Tech that specialize in induction heating on tabletops will help to improve the use of space in restaurants.

VREJ SABOUNJIAN
Chairman of Vresso S.A.L
Lebanon

How has Covid-19 impacted the heavy kitchen equipment industry?
Heavy equipment, the type that produces around 1,000 meals per day and is found in central kitchens, was not and will not be affected as much as medium-sized equipment in restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés.

What are the latest trends in
heavy kitchen equipment?
Due to Covid-19, there was a marked decrease in some food imports, while local production increased. Therefore, the current trend is securing heavy equipment to support local production of items such as hummus, jam and dairy products. We are also witnessing large supermarkets obtaining heavy equipment to produce ready-to-eat meals.

What products have you recently released?
With hospital and laboratory equipment in high demand, Vresso has released a variety of laboratory cooling systems.

What products do you predict
will be popular in 2021?
The coronavirus help to raise awareness about health and lifestyle, particularly in terms of food and beverage consumption. Thus, we anticipate a continued rise in the use of heavy equipment to produce healthy foods and juices for schools, canteens and hospitals. As suppliers struggle to capture the retail segment in the same way they could before the outbreak of Covid-19, deep-freeze systems — allowing longer frozen shelf life — will be even more popular.

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