freezer or commercial refrigerators in a micromarket setting

Five reasons to invest in new glass door refrigeration or freezer merchandisers

As seen in Food and Beverage Engineering and Maintenance Magazine

Glass door refrigeration or freezer merchandisers are a central part of any retail food business and given the cost of replacement it’s tempting to keep them operating for as long as possible.  A reliable system of monitoring, maintaining and repairing units will mitigate large-scale breakdowns, particularly if older units are replaced on a regular basis. Ten years is a good lifespan for a high-quality commercial refrigerator or freezer, but a high traffic operation that runs 18 hours a day with doors opening and closing 100 times or more puts high recovery demands on compressors. The physical cabinets and interiors can take a beating too. Planning to replace in year eight or nine is prudent since you don’t want a total system failure which can be expensive when you include lost product sales in a busy retail operation.

While proactive maintenance can go a long way to protecting your investment there are other important reasons to consider upgrading. A key aspect of all of this is the lifetime cost of ownership (LCO) which captures the notion that upgrading depends on several factors, not simply comparing the cost of repairing versus replacing. To fully grasp what new equipment will mean to your business look beyond at marketing, reliability, food safety and industry trends, all of which affect the bottom line.

Food safety

Food waste is a huge issue these days for producers, consumers and the restaurant industry, with an estimated 40 per cent of all food produced thrown out.  For retailers a single catastrophic failure can cause thousands of dollars in product loss. Preventing spoilage depends on being able to monitor and maintain stable temperatures, now made easier than ever by technologies like fully integrated smart monitors that automatically lock doors and prevent sales when a high temperature threshold is reached. Considering the cost of malfunctioning equipment in lost sales, repairs, labour and downtime, not to mention the reputational damage that a food emergency causes, investing in high quality freezers and refrigerators is of critical importance to any retail operation.

 Energy efficiency improvements

Freezers are among the top energy-consuming appliances with new efficiency standards being introduced on a regular basis. Environmental standards enacted in 2017 reduced energy consumption by 50 per cent and the banning of greenhouse gas emitting refrigerants like R404A and CFCs has brought the industry into a new greener era. Investing in state-of-the-art equipment can be offset by energy cost savings, particularly when purchasing from a company with a track record of exceeding efficiency requirements.

Cost of reliability

Like cars, as commercial freezers age their repair costs rise (as do related costs like lost product and sales). If your fleet of assets has reached a point where more than 10 per cent of the total units require high dollar repairs within a 12-month period, it might be time to consider retiring older merchandisers within the fleet. This rotation cycle will ensure that your newest units never exceed the 10-year mark in service, which is a reasonable life span for this equipment.

Aesthetic value  

Bright, modern merchandisers help to sell your product, and older, tired-looking or damaged units can negatively impact sales.  In addition, graphic design options offer stylish ways to improve brand visibility and communicate special offers to customers to boost sales. The introduction of LED lighting, which can be up to 85 per cent more efficient than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, helps showcase products while reducing costs. LEDs operate better in cold temperatures, last longer, and give off less heat (allowing refrigerators and freezers to operate using less energy since they don’t have to make up for heat emanating from light bulbs.)

Adapting to new food trends

The food industry changes at a rapid pace, and new product lines, along with entirely new product categories emerge on a regular basis. Case in point: raw pet foods, a growing trend of high-margin products which must be sold in frozen form. Also, millennials are loving the freezer aisles and sales are up in the category for the first time in five years by 1.4 per cent according to Reuters.com. Many frozen brands are capitalizing on on-the-go meals that are easy on the wallet, convenient, produce less food waste and are available in many smart healthy eating options. If you like to stay on top of food trends, whether they’re driven by health concerns, immigration, changing demographics or celebrity endorsements, investing in new freezer technologies and visually striking merchandisers can help promote new product offerings and be a key driver for success.

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