The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) has outlined three key elements it is important to get right in order to ensure that refrigeration plays its part in reducing food waste – as it raised concerns that operators are still confused by the Climate Class rating of fridges.
CESA said that it was vital for operators to consider the importance of specifying the right equipment (including its Climate Class,) looking after equipment correctly, and organising storage.
The association claimed that despite its importance, many operators don’t understand Climate Class, and that getting it wrong can result in food spoiling in the cabinet.
It says that every professional fridge will be manufactured to a specific Climate Class, for example, Climate Class 3 fridges are designed to operate in ambient temperatures up to 25°C, whereas a Climate Class 5 model will cope with temperatures up to 40°C.
John Whitehouse, chair of CESA, said: “Specifiers of new refrigeration equipment need to get to grips with this issue. Get an inappropriate Climate Class fridge and you’re going to have temperature control issues, leading to unnecessary food wastage.”
This problem has been highlighted by the Energy Labelling Directive, which applies to professional refrigeration cabinets and counters (it will also apply to commercial ‘reach-in’ cabinets in the future).
The tests set a model’s energy efficiency between A+++ and G – but the tests are carried out under specific Climate Class conditions.
In terms of looking after equipment, CESA says that staff need to follow best practice – for example, regularly checking door gaskets for any signs of damage.
A split in the gasket could lead to temperature loss, which could cause food to spoil, while at the other end of the scale, wedging a fridge door open could lead to a dramatic loss of temperature.
Organising storage is the third strand of the battle with food waste identified by CESA.
It said that dating all food stored is essential, so that a ‘First in, First out’ (FiFo) stocking system can be operated in order to ensure older stock gets used before its best before date.
It’s also essential to load refrigeration correctly – for example, ensuring that the cabinet isn’t overloaded with food blocking the airflow system, which will cause temperature control issues that could lead or food waste.
When purchasing equipment, CESA says, operators should consider how food and ingredients will be stored – for example, it’s often easier to organise storage, and to access the products, in cabinets with drawers rather than doors.
Whitehouse said: “We all know how big an issue food waste has become. Best practice in refrigeration can play a big role in reducing food waste, which in turn will save costs.”