It’s all about food quality

A survey result that wouldn’t surprise many in the food services sector across Australia and New Zealand, 89% of patrons cite poor food quality as the main reason they will avoid returning to a restaurant. The study, cited on the Restaurant Association of New Zealand website, was carried out with a sample of New Zealand consumers by a marketing agency specialising in the food and beverage industry.

Other factors such as poor service (61%) figured highly also, but food quality remained at the heart of attracting repeat customers. The fact 95% relied on word of mouth and online reviews reinforces the importance of getting the customer experience right.

While delivering quality food is part-art and part-science, refrigeration is a fundamental to delivering food and beverage that exceeds a consumer’s expectation. The challenge for food service businesses can be having confidence in their refrigeration equipment, a category which is often outside their own expertise.

There are many excellent food service consultants and equipment suppliers that can provide useful advice, as well as online sources of information, about refrigeration options.

9975136_lAnother key way of having confidence in your refrigeration equipment is how they stack up to various compliance standards. As any food service business must meet standards around the quality and safety of their produce, reputable manufacturers of commercial refrigeration equipment have to do the same with their products.

The correct compliance for your refrigeration equipment can give you some confidence it will perform as expected, and that your supplier has invested in its own production process to ensure its products meet the standards.

For commercial refrigeration, there are three areas of compliance that are relevant:

  1. Safety: Australia and New Zealand have agreed standards on what constitutes mechanically and electrically safe equipment.
  2. Electromagnetic compliance: any electrical equipment emits electromagnetic energy, which needs to be within proscribed Trans-Tasman standards to avoid interfering or damaging other equipment.
  3. Energy efficiency: minimum energy efficiency standards exist to ensure your equipment is cost-effective and environmentally acceptable.

Refrigeration compliance may not be the first thing you think about for your food service business, but understanding the basic standards will help you assess whether your current equipment is going to help deliver on food quality day-in and day-out. It’s also a useful check when you are evaluating new equipment purchases.

tickCompliance may seem complicated, but it is actually relatively quick and easy to check. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand the three main compliance standards, and how to determine whether your equipment makes the grade.

 

Download the eBook “The cold, hard facts on commercial
refrigeration compliance” or contact SKOPE to discuss your compliance questions.

Breaking down the MEPS jargon

The Australian Government’s energy rating site, is the ‘go to’ source when you want a direct comparison of the MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standard) of varying commercial refrigerated cabinets in the market today. At first glance, the comparison data can look a little daunting as the information includes the brand and model, whether it meets the high efficiency level, the cabinet classification and its efficiency figure.

MEPS has two levels of compliance: minimum and high efficiency levels. Each cabinet type has a specified limit at which it is deemed to comply. This limit is the efficiency level and is not a true consumption figure but a calculated one.

High efficiency cabinets use less power than the minimum efficiency cabinets per day per m² of the total display area (visible product in the cabinet). The high efficiency level will either be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. ’Yes’, means the cabinet complies with the specific limits set out in the standard for that type, ‘no’ means it meets only the minimum efficiency levels.

The “cabinet classification” consists of two parts: the Climate Class and the Product Class:

Climate Class Test environment                                  
3 24°C ambient up to 60% relative humidity
4 30°C ambient up to 55% relative humidity
5 40°C ambient up to 40% relative humidity

When looking at the Climate Class, it is important to factor in the relative humidity figure when understanding how well a cabinet performs, and while Climate Class 5 is listed, it should be remembered that 40°C and 40% RH are uncommon conditions although the tested cabinet will operate in those conditions.

Product Class Product temperature range
M1 -1°C to +5°C
M2 -1°C to +7°C
L1 -21°C to -15°C
L2 -21°C to -12°C

A cabinet classification example of 3M1 would mean the cabinet was tested at Climate Class 3 (25°C – 60%RH) and complies with the Product Class M1 (product remains between -1°C and +5°C for duration of the test).

“Efficiency” is shown in kWhr/24hr/m² or kilowatt hours per 24 hours per m² of total display area. The efficiency is a ratio of the cabinet’s Total Energy Consumption (TEC) divided by the Total Display Area (TDA).
 It is not the actual energy used in a day. TEC is the actual amount of energy consumed by the cabinet per 24 hours and is given in kilowatt-hours per 24 hours (kWhr/24hr). TDA is the visible product display area of the cabinet and is given in square metres (m²).

To find out what the cabinet will consume each day, divide the Efficiency Number by the Total Display Area (TDA is shown on the compare products comprehensive detail page).

Below we will compare three cabinets with the same efficiency figure and all tested at the same climate class of 25°C ambient in 60% RH.

Brand A    Brand B   Brand C   
High efficiency Yes Yes No
Cabinet classification 3M1 3M2 3M1
Efficiency 7.75 7.75 7.75
Total Display Area (m²) 1.10 0.85 0.70
Actual power consumption (kWhr) 7.045 9.117 11.071

Brand A uses the least amount of power, has the largest product display area, meets high efficiency standards and will retain all product below 5°C.

Brand B uses more power per day and meets high efficiency standards but it is unsuitable for perishable product types as it maintains some of it products above the 5°C limit.

Brand C has the same efficiency figure but doesn’t meet the high efficiency level as it consumes too much power for the amount of product on display.

In the case of commercial refrigeration manufactured in or imported into Australia and New Zealand, all cabinets are tested to the same standard and must be compliant with AS 1731.14-2003, which specifies the mandatory requirements. If you are looking for a specific cabinet and it doesn’t appear on the website, then it may not comply for various reasons. For example, it may use too much power or it doesn’t maintain correct product temperatures.

SKOPE’s refrigeration products perform to and in the case of many of our products above MEP standards. For our customers, this means using less energy to deliver the same performance and saves on running costs over the entire life of the product.

When choosing refrigeration, check out the energy rating site to compare models and look for the MEPS ‘High Energy Efficiency’ tick on our products.