Save the date! Come visit us at the NAFEM show in Anaheim, California on February 19th through the 21st! We will be showing many exciting and innovative products at booth # 1442. You will learn about pull-out shelves, vertical frameless UV bonded glass, synchronized defrost, adaptive defrost, and continuous merchandising. These will all be featured in our technology area. We will also be displaying a plethora of grab & go cases. Watch out for in-counter integration, hot stations, built-in looks (Wall of Fresh), and many islands and endcaps. We are very excited to display our beautiful cases this year at NAFEM and we hope to see you there!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Show off your holiday spirit with creative and seasonal decorations inside your food display cases. There are so many possibilities for a beautiful and festive holiday theme. Here are some simple suggestions to get you started!
1. Use red, green, gold, or silver dishes to display your foods.
2. Incorporate some holiday themed fabric within your display.
3. Add in some garland and holly.
4. Accent with hanging snowflakes, icicles, or ornaments.
5. Try putting together some clear vases that hold fake snow, branches, and pinecones.
6. Add in some bottles of Winter or Christmas wines.
7. Wrap empty boxes in holiday wrapping paper and use them to give your dishes some varied heights. Scatter these presents throughout your display.
8. Place a few miniature pine trees and decorate them if you wish.
9. Cut out gold or silver stars and hang them throughout your case.
10. Using cardboard or paper Mache letters, paint or wrap them in fabric. Spell out words like "JOY" or "BE MERRY" and place them around.
Once again, remember that it is all about stimulating the desire to purchase. Make your displays attractive and enticing using shapes, colors, textures, props and most importantly, creativity.
Here are some links to help you create some of these suggestions!
http://bit.ly/1tIi50P (Paper Mache Letters)
http://bit.ly/1tzLqvi (Holiday Fabrics)
http://bit.ly/1zdW2E5 (Hanging Snowflakes & Ornaments)
The demand for fresh, healthy, and organic foods is continuously on the rise, and the national grocery chain, Whole Foods, knows how to keep up. They are leading the way in creative merchandising to drive the market demand for these fresh and healthy foods in supermarkets. They plan to open 40 new stores in 2015, so if there is not a Whole Foods near you now, there probably will be soon!
Whole Foods has strict Food Ingredient Quality Standards which means that they do not allow hydrogenated fats or artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. They also provide a list on their website of unacceptable ingredients for use in their foods. You can see the complete list here: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/food-ingredient.
Whole Foods is also committed to labeling all food products in their US and Canada stores to show whether they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by 2018. Many of their products are labeled already and many more of them will be way ahead of their 2018 deadline. Whole foods currently carries over 25,000 certified organic products and about 8500 non-GMO Project Verified products in their stores. They are leading the way for the others who will decide to commit to this important non-GMO Project. They are the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for GMO awareness.
It is refreshing to know about the incredible initiatives that they have developed to provide us with safe, fresh, and undeniably healthy food. You can find out more about their quality and health standards here: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards).
The NACS show (National Association of Convenience Store) starts this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Structural Concepts is excited to be sharing some of its great display case solutions for fresh foods. Today’s consumer is turning to the local convenience store for more than gas, tobacco and energy drinks. They are looking for fresh food options as well. There’s no better way to offer fresh foods than in a refrigerated grab & go display. The food looks fresh and appealing and it’s easy to access. Both are critical ways to stimulate impulse sales and satisfy the customer.
There are many ways to integrate refrigerated grab & go displays into the convenience store operation. From displays positioned behind a wall so that only a window of food is seen to 360 degree walk-around island displays, you’re sure to find a solution in Structural’s booth. Be sure to visit booth #6668.
Autumn is one of the best times of the year. The leaves begin to change to brilliant shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and deep purples. We trade our muggy summer heat for crisp and cool weather. We put our bathing suits away and replace them with warm socks, cozy sweaters, and boots. We begin to see pumpkins everywhere as well as pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!
What's not to love about fall? Even a chore like raking the leaves ends in fun - you get to jump in (or watch your kids do it)! With fall being here now, it's also time to jump into fall merchandising at your store. I'm sure you've got the Halloween treats and the Candy Corn out, but don't forget about the inside of your food display cases. Give your deli meats, pasta salads, and potato salads some autumn love too!
Here are some creative ways to give your food display cases a touch of fall:
1. Add some pumpkins or gourds to the shelves.
2. Make your food pop with red, yellow, orange, or gold dishes. Possibly throw in some leaf shaped dishes as well.
3. Try using solid or patterned fall fabrics.
4. Spice up the area with some seasonal flowers.
5. Organize loose products or add-ons in wicker baskets or wooden barrels.
6. Decorate with some strings of leaves.
7. Place some tree branches, pine cones, or acorns around the food.
8. Accent with some small lanterns, wheels, or wagons.
9. Add in some jugs of apple cider or bottles of hard cider.
10. If you are using name cards in front of your various foods, try using a fall font or a chalkboard look.
Remember, it is all about stimulating the desire to purchase. Make your displays attractive and enticing using shapes, colors, textures, props and most importantly, creativity.
It is that time of year once again – back to school! Along with those new backpacks, clothes, pencils, folders, and notebooks, let’s all try a healthy food approach to help our children stay focused and succeed this school year – and for all the years to come.
Our eating habits begin when we are young, when our food choices are made for us. It is a parents’ responsibility, as well as our education system, to not only provide healthy foods but to educate our children about the importance of those healthy food choices.
Between the years 1980 and 2000, the rate of obesity doubled in American adults. Now, 30% of adults in America are obese and this number is rising dramatically. Obesity rates have now doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. This increases the number of years that these children are susceptible to the incredibly dangerous health risks of obesity. 61% of overweight 5-10 year olds already have 1 risk factor for heart disease and 26% have 2 or more risk factors.
Heart disease is the number one killer in America with cancer not far behind. We, as a society, have the power to change this. These numbers are not that surprising based on the amount of processed foods sold in our grocery stores and the fruit and veggie deficiencies that the majority of Americans have. Only about 25% of US adults eat the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies each day and more than 50% of American adults do not get the recommended amount of exercise that contributes to health benefits. Based off these statistics, how would a child know or care about the importance of healthy eating?
With McDonald’s daily customer traffic being over 62 million, where is the concern for non-processed, nutritious meals? For some other shocking statistics about McDonalds, visit http://read.bi/1gEDjHE. Our grocery stores are filled with processed foods that are high in fat, sodium, calories, and are very low in vitamins and fiber. These foods certainly contribute to the shocking obesity rates, as well as the high numbers of heart disease in America. It is time that we take control of our eating habits, especially for the sake of our children and grandchildren’s lives.
Schools are beginning to implement some great programs that encourage healthy eating and are doing a better job in teaching the importance of it. For example, Betti Wiggins, the Executive Director of the Office of School Nutrition in Detroit started something amazing for the students of the Detroit Public Schools. She has worked in many different school systems across the United States and her passion was to serve hungry school kids. She quickly became aware of how unhealthy the food she was serving really was and wanted to see less processed and high fat foods in her school systems. She also understood the importance of buying local produce, not only for their health benefits, but to also help the local economy in need. Betti started The Detroit School Garden Collaborative – A Farm 2 School Initiative. It is sponsored by the Detroit Public School’s Office of School Nutrition and the Office of Science.
Now, over 47 school sites in Detroit participate in this amazing and innovative program. Each school site features 6 raised garden beds- 3 for zucchini, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes which are served to students in the “DPS Stop Light Salad” and the remaining 3 beds are filled with fruits and veggies chosen by the school.
This program offers countless benefits to the students. It gives them sustainable access to fresh produce and increases the children’s understanding of the importance of fresh fruits and veggies in their diets. It makes the children ambassadors of healthy eating so they can share this information with their families, plus it provides an on-site learning area focused on nutrition education and teaches them how to grow their own food. To find out more about this incredible program, visit http://bit.ly/WDsm58.
This is just one of many innovative programs created to help educate our children and point them towards a healthier future. Many other cities and school systems across our country are trying to get on board with similar programs. The Growing Goods Project in Muskegon, Michigan is a collaborative effort put together by the Muskegon County Public Health department. It aims to engage youth within community gardens and civic actions that teaches healthy living. To find out more about this worthwhile program, visit http://bit.ly/1AusSQr.
It is refreshing to know that there are important changes happening within our schools and that our children’s eating choices and habits are moving in a positive and healthy direction. If we all were to focus on living a healthier lifestyle, through nutritious healthy food choices and proper exercise, we could help shape the lives of generations to come. Let’s all help stop America’s obesity rate climb one child at a time.
Summer is upon us, and the temptation to open your doors and windows comes along with the good weather. If you are a business owner with any refrigerated merchandising equipment and have "given in" to the temptation, please remember the purpose of your equipment: to keep contained product displayed in a cool environment. During the process of refrigeration, humidity is removed from the air being introduced into the merchandiser allowing product to remain chilled while contained. If any doors and/or windows are open, your refrigeration equipment will act as a dehumidifier for the great outdoors, rather than a cooling display case for your product, as it is intended,
Most of our units are designed to maintain product temperatures at 40 degrees or less on average over a 24-hour period, provided that the unit is loaded with pre-chilled product. High ambient conditions and humidity can also cause higher than normal temperatures and excess condensation, and therefore should be properly controlled as designated by NSF Standards; Type I refrigerated units are designed to run in 75 degrees and 55 percent relative humidity or less and Type II refrigerated units are designed to run in 80 degrees and 60 percent relative humidity or less. If a unit is operating in any condition where these standards are not met, and/or a window, door or A/C vent is within a few feet from the unit, it is possible that the unit will produce excessive condensation and allow water to produce at a higher rate than the units were engineered to evaporate.
So before you make that call about condensation on your unit or water on the floor, make sure your doors and windows are closed and your A/C is set to obtain the necessary ambient conditions for your equipment to run efficiently. This will also avoid unnecessary service calls that are not covered under warranty and issues that service providers are unable to fix.
If you find water on the floor, ask yourself these 10 questions:
1. Is the drain free of debris?
2. Is the drain hose correctly positioned over the evaporator pan?
3. Is the evaporator pan overflowing?
4. Is the evaporator pan plugged in and proper voltage supplied?
5. Has the evaporator pan been cleaned to eliminate build up on float?
6. Is the condenser coil dirty, causing the unit to produce more condensation?
7. Are there overhead vents blowing into and on the case?
8. Is the A/C turned off or warming up at night?
9. Do you have high ambient temperatures and humidity?
10. Is the condensation from another source?
This post was written by Tom Thompson, Matt Pastotnik & Ellyse Birch of Technical Services.