Imagine living in a world where there was no method of cooling your food for preservation. This was our world less than 3 centuries ago. Before the 1720's the correlation between evaporation and cooling had never been contrived. It wouldn't be until 1835 that Jacob Perkins would patent his vapour compression cycle after working with Oliver Evans.
The invention of the refrigerator changed food storage and consumption forever. The need for smoking, salting, and leaving food outside to cool at night was no more. This also produced the potential for restaurateurs and grocers to store large quantities of food in commercial refrigerators, innovating drastic changes in the food industry.
There are many ways commercial refrigerators benefit those who purchase them, from storing vast amounts of food to protecting ingredients from bacterial growth. The commercial refrigerator industry has proved its value to society not only in physical ability but in statistics and finance as well.
Research has shown that commercial refrigerators have only continued to grow in popularity and value over the past decade. In fact, by 2024, this market is projected to surpass the USD 35-billion mark. This is due primarily to the increase in demand for frozen foods on a global level.
Selecting a commercial refrigerator depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of product typically being stored, the space you have for the unit, the industry in which you work, and personal preference for doors and positioning. For some business owners, this still leaves a question of which style of fridge works best for their establishment.
While there isn't a specific commercial refrigerator for every business model, there are ones that work better in some industries than others.
A stand-up unit with transparent windows allows customers to see and reach items quickly. This is best used in shops and markets for self-serve shopping. Cans and bottles stack easily inside merchandiser fridges for grab and go businesses.
Merchandisers may be outfitted with a variety of customizable features, including sliding or swinging doors and multiple shelves.
Businesses best suited to merchandiser refrigerators: Gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, and other stores with grab and go merchandise requiring refrigeration.
Businesses using or selling large quantities of fresh or frozen food products are best to invest in a walk-in refrigerator. These units can be installed inside or outside of a business and built to fit customized spaces.
Due to the amount of energy it requires to maintain the temperature in a walk-in unit, they aren't built for frequent access. These refrigerators are best used to retrieve mass amounts of food once or twice a day, using smaller fridges to store items until needed.
Businesses best suited to walk-in refrigerators: Supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels.
As the name suggests, refrigerated displays are meant to present products visibly and positively to consumers. These fridges are often stocked with on the go food and drinks like sandwiches, pop, juice, and individual-sized salads.
Fridges are outfitted with a display area for advertising and brightly lit shelves for convenience.
Businesses best suited to refrigerated display: Convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and other small shops.
Not all stores, restaurants, and businesses have the space for large commercial refrigerators. For moving and storing small amounts of products or keeping products on hand in front of house, a bar fridge works well.
Some bar refrigerators are outfitted specifically for bars and pubs with keg storage for draught beer.
Businesses best suited to bar refrigerators: Bars, taverns, pubs, restaurants, and cafes.
Prep tables are commonly found in hospitality settings, and having ingredients stored directly beneath them saves time and space in the kitchen. Refrigerated prep tables provide all the requires space for cutting and prepping with easy access to food, sauces, and drinks just below the tabletop.
Businesses best suited to refrigerated prep tables: Pizza parlours, sandwich shops, cafes, and other small eateries.
The standard stand up refrigerator model is a classic, and commercial refrigerators have their own version of this industry standard. Reach in refrigerators are designed to be used frequently throughout the day, with easily accessible shelves when standing.
Businesses best suited for reach in refrigerators: Restaurants, hotels, and grocery room warehouses.
Before you purchase, be sure to measure the area the refrigerator will occupy. Remember to leave extra room for opening doors and consider how frequently those doors will be opening for use.
Commercial refrigeration is following much the same track as other technology around the world as industries strive to make products more economical and ecologically friendly. There's been a huge increase in the number of companies around the world seeking ways to decrease water and energy consumption and minimize waste.
Businesses can expect to see more commercial refrigerator suppliers working toward zero-emission and energy-conserving units. Minimizing the money businesses are spending on powering fridges, and maximizing on planet-saving potential, going green has never been more on-trend.
Another trend companies can look for in refrigeration is a commercial bar refrigeration with LED lighting. For those businesses within the bar and service industry, the light-up fridges are growing in popularity due to their ease of use, time-saving ability, and independent advertising potential.
Commercial refrigerators have not only changed the way we store food in business but have opened the door to innovation and evolution of refrigeration. Some examples of modern commercial refrigeration outside of the above listed commonplace models include:
There is a commercial refrigerator for every purpose and industry. Selecting one which suits the needs and products of a specific market increases the potential for fast-moving, well-preserved products.