Efficiency, ergonomics and sustainability. Industrial kitchens are constantly evolving, in a process of continuous improvement that benefits customers and companies in the food sector. These are the 8 major trends that will define the sector in 2022 and beyond.

1. Smart industrial kitchens

One of the biggest trends is the use of data for customers. Internet-of-Things (IoT) is introducing new devices, sensors, automation software and communication equipment that translate into significant improvements in productivity, performance and sustainability.

Practical examples are becoming more frequent and impactful: take Somengil’s industrial washing machines, for instance. The MultiWasher automatically adapts the main washing variables, such as temperature, pressure and detergent. This machine stores up to 20 washing programs on an intuitive touch screen, meaning the operator can quickly set the required parameters rather than configuring them manually.

2. New drying methods for industrial kitchens

Industrial drying methods prevent the spread of diseases that endanger the health of employees, customers, and the public. There are several options. The more traditional methods are natural or hot air drying. But in some specific cases, it may be necessary to resort to a more technological way of working. Infrared drying, for example, evaporates water and detergents at high temperature. Freeze drying, on the other hand, dehydrates the material and then reduces the pressure and applies heat. Lastly, dielectric drying uses radiation or radio frequencies to transfer heat into materials, similar to a microwave.

The choice of drying method depends on each case. But in most industrial kitchens, convective drying is the safest and most efficient choice. It works with forced hot air being pushed against utensils, effectively drying in a matter of minutes. This is the method we chose for MultiWasher, our state-of-the-art industrial washing machine. From food, dishes, tools, boxes to trays, this machine washes and dries every type of utensil.

3. Increased ergonomics in operations

Musculoskeletal injuries affect 3 out of every 5 workers – more than all other occupational diseases combined. The answer to this professional scourge is ergonomics, the science of adapting the task to the person. This level of care is essential for workers and a requirement for organizations concerned with building a safe, productive, and happy workspace.

Improving ergonomics requires work on several fronts. One of the first steps is to eliminate repetitive tasks, with a cycle time under 30 seconds. Activities that require unnatural postures – such as having to lower, rotate or climb – are especially dangerous. Finally, it is important to avoid lifting loads over 5 kg and minimize prolonged exposure to vibration.

MultiWasher is an industrial washing machine designed for organizations concerned with ergonomics. It washes every utensil (such as pans, trays, oven shapes, tools or exhaust filters) ergonomically because operators do not have to load and unload each utensil individually, as with a traditional machine. Instead, we design custom carts or trays to be washed with the utensils and minimize repetitive travel and lifting.

4. More sustainable materials

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disposable packaging accounts for nearly half of municipal solid waste. The lack of proper recycling options has led to 79% of all plastic produced to date still being present in oceans, rivers, lakes and landfills.

But alternatives to plastic are on the rise. Paper, cardboard, bamboo, glass, stainless steel, silicone and bagasse are contributing to a less disposable world. The Multiwasher can wash all these sustainable materials efficiently.

5. Ecological detergents for the health of employees

Industrial detergents are essential for health, safety and hygiene in every aspect of human activity. But the presence of harmful chemical agents is prompting a rethink of their use – and ushering in a new trend in industrial kitchens.

Ecological detergents skip chlorine, peracetic acid, phosphates and coconut, sugar and palm oil. These products do not use animal testing and rely solely on recyclable packaging.

At Somengil, we recommend the use of biodegradable detergents without toxic agents harmful to the operator and the environment. The detergents achieve the most environmentally friendly industrial washing possible.

6. Water saving in industrial kitchens

Saving water is a shared mission for companies and a challenge of particular importance in the food sector. Of the many processes in an industrial kitchen, it is washing – of dishes, boxes, utensils and containers – that requires more water, accounting for approximately two-thirds of total consumption.

Water is so important during washing that, excluding agriculture, no other process spends so much of this resource in the food industry. On average, a commercial washing machine, with proper installation and maintenance, consumes about 18 liters of water per shelf.

MultiWasher – developed by Portuguese engineers – automatically reuses the washing water between cycles and completes multiple washes with the same water, without human intervention. The MultiWasher thus saves 2/3 of water when compared to other industrial washing machines.

7. Reinforced hygiene for post-Covid industrial kitchens

Every year, 1 in 10 people around the world get sick from contaminated food, resulting in nearly 420,000 fatalities stemming from over 200 foodborne diseases. These diseases occur when bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals contaminate food or beverages. There is growing cause for concern: since the beginning of the millennium, the number of outbreaks of foodborne diseases has been increasing at an alarming rate.

Industrial washing equipment, which washes cooking utensils at high temperatures with little detergent, is crucial to ensure good food handling practices. MultiWasher is the benchmark for productivity, washing quality and food safety.

8. Predictive maintenance to prevent forced downtime

Maintenance is on its way to a new era. Instead of reacting when a component breaks down, modern maintenance managers can act before a failure forces machines to stop. Predictive maintenance uses equipment data to predict and prevent failures, increase lifetime, and improve efficiency. Based on data gathered and predictive algorithms, predictive maintenance prevents problems that would otherwise cause long stops.

Predictive maintenance has the potential to increase team productivity, machine efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and improve customer service. In an industrial kitchen where each stop directly affects customer service, predictive maintenance also translates to more sales.

At Somengil, we value innovation, quality and continuous improvement of our processes. We are constantly looking for new solutions to innovate industrial kitchens.