trade show floorI do like the fact that more and more aspects of the HVACR industry have been paying more attention to the last letter — the ‘R’ as in ‘refrigeration.’ For example, some trade associations have added the word ‘refrigeration’ to their titles over the years.

But the most important thing to me is to go to the trade shows where refrigeration is emphasized. The most recent examples were the Food Marketing Institute’s Food Retail Show in Dallas this past May, and then the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show a few days later in Chicago.

It should be noted that these shows are about virtually everything in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, and motels. That meant china, silverware, linen, flooring, decorations, etc., etc., not to mention most every kind of food and drink, with free samples of said consumable products.

But for me the main focus — aside from a bit of food sampling — was the refrigeration technology. In the supermarket sector, it was the latest in mechanical technology, including a rack system linked to a micro-channel rooftop condenser, which in turn was tied into a solar panel. There were, among the two shows, dozens of ice machines, walk-ins, reach-ins, freezers, and coolers, plus more than a few frozen yogurt dispensers, given the recent interest in those retail stores where customers can dispense their own variety of yogurts and top them with a range of fruits, candies, and cookies. (This leads one to wonder about the low-fat health benefits of yogurt being thwarted when a bit of the frozen food is covered with fattening candies and whipped cream.)

As I noted, finding the mechanical refrigeration products can be a bit of a challenge as they were scattered among hundreds and hundreds of exhibitors at booths showing nonrefrigeration-related technology. Not that that prevented more than a few exhibitors seeing my press badge and beckoning me to view how durable their china was and how colorful their signage options were.

A summary of the two shows comprise the focus of the July 2 and Sept. 3 issues of The NEWS. To read the article, “Chilling Answers for a Variety of Customers,” in the July 2 issue, click here.

Publication date: 7/2/2012