Getting more product into the same space also
allows retailers to stock more variety, which is
important as shoppers are increasingly priori-tizing fresh food.
“Many stores are looking to grow perimeter
sales and allocating more space to the perimeter,” says Anne-Marie Roerink, principal with
210 Analytics LLC, a consulting firm that works
with many clients in the meat industry, including the North American Meat Institute. “
Innovations that allow greater variety in a smaller
square-foot area are a great way to creatively
expand. Additionally, it may allow retailers to
take more of a total-meal approach by offering
meal kits and meal stations.”
The Gravity of the Situation
Until relatively recently, closed display cases
for meat and seafood could have only one tier
because the cooled air inside the case has to
move around as slowly as possible, preferably
by gravity. (As air is cooled, it becomes denser
and sinks; the evaporator coils at the top of the
case that cool this air are called “gravity coils.”)
Fanning the air to move it faster runs the risk of
drying out the product—but until recently, this
forced-air method was the only practical way of
maintaining temperature uniformly for a mul-tishelf display. Air cooled from above would
be impeded by the top shelf from reaching the
bottom shelf in amounts adequate to maintain
However, several suppliers have come out
with cases designed to display meat and seafood on multiple levels while keeping the temperature uniform and not propelling air quickly
enough to damage the product.
Other multideck cases use forced-air circulation and counteract the drying effect with mists
of water. The drawback: This can be hard to
fine-tune, especially in cases that show products with differing absorption rates. Products
that look too wet can lose eye appeal, and water
can collect on the inside of the front glass,
impeding shoppers’ views.
One solution was rolled out nationwide in
late January by Structural Concepts. The Atmo-
sphere multideck case uses a unique “nebuliz-
ing” system to produce mists of cooled water
in ultrafine droplets about eight times smaller
on average than those of conventional misters.
The droplets are produced by a membrane in
which 1.6 million vibrations per second are
induced by piezoelectricity, says Jeff Schneider,
Structural Concepts’ SVP of sales, marketing
and strategic planning. The nebulized droplets
cool more efficiently and vaporize faster, he
says, leaving less water residue on the product
and inside the case.
When it comes to self-service food bars, making sure the equipment can be moved to continuously adapt to shoppers’ ever-changing needs
“Why bolt a food bar to the floor for the next
20 to 30 years?” says Ernst Goettsch, president
of Woodridge, Ill.-based Fri-Jado Inc.
Goettsch says an alternative solution is to
invest in modular food bars and standing displays that can easily be moved around the store
to meet the evolving demands of consumers.
This also allows retailers to use trial and error to
determine the best placement for each display.
“This can be achieved by use of modules
that can be attached together; modules that are
dotted around the store at target locations; and
island-type pieces of equipment on legs or even
on casters for ease of use, cleaning, service and
shopper offering at a particular time or place in
the store,” Goettsch says.
Toledo says its
880 Auto Wrapper