Changes in consumer attitudes to grocery shopping have created challenges to retailers, but they have also created opportunities for forward thinking operators, who are prepared to embrace change. Fri-Jado UK’s Director of National Accounts, Gary Thacker, explains:

Fri-Jado UK has experienced an increase in demand for its Custom
Counters as operators seek to maximise the potential of their food to
go offer.

“The growth of on-line grocery shopping, with store pick-ups and home deliveries, has reduced the number of in-store visits for big weekly or monthly shops for many consumers. As a result a culture of ‘little and often shopping’ has evolved, with consumers making more frequent visits to local convenience stores, rather than out-of-town superstores.”

Thacker believes that convenience stores can benefit from this increased footfall by providing customers with a full shopping experience rather than simply the opportunity to buy goods:

“Shopping is a sensual experience, where customers wish to see, smell and, where appropriate, touch goods, encouraging browsing and promoting impulse purchases.”

This is particularly true of the food to go sector, which is one of the fastest growing areas in UK food retailing, with an estimated value of £20 billion in 2018. Traditional grab & go, comprising a sandwich and a packet of crisps, is being replaced with full service food to go offers, meeting consumer demand for a broader menu range, including freshly cooked hot products. Food to go is no longer just for eating on the move and lunchtime snacking: it now also meets the requirements for fast and convenient dining at home.

Thacker reports that as a result Fri-Jado UK has experienced an increase in demand for its Custom Counters as operators seek to set themselves apart from other retailers in a very competitive market.

“Retailers and equipment concept specialists are specifying our unique serve over counter solutions, which provide aesthetically pleasing presentation, optimum food quality and maximum visibility of food to go.”

Fri-Jado’s Custom Counters may be designed to customer supplied parameters, including size, profile, interior configuration, lighting and accessories. They are offered with a choice of easily cleaned square or curved glass profiles and straight or recessed underframes to meet retailers’ preferences. A variety of counter illumination options may also be specified to further enhance the visibility of product on display.

A feature of the company’s Custom Counters is the ability to multiplex hot and chilled units, to create inline seamless configurations for the complementary merchandising of cooked and chilled food. The modules feature triple glazed side panes, which ensure excellent insulation and prevent heat transfer between units.

The hot counters benefit from upper radiant heat and a precision controlled humidification system, holding product at 65°C or above, throughout the unit, ensuring food quality and safety. Chilled units incorporate high performance refrigeration and precise humidity control to maintain stable storage temperatures. The design incorporates a low velocity airflow, which significantly reduces food dehydration, for optimum food quality, freshness and appearance. Accurate temperatures in both the hot and chilled units ensure that product is held over extended periods, without deterioration in quality or appearance, reducing the amount of food which may be price discounted or thrown away.

As standard, the counters are manufactured in stainless steel facilitating cleaning regimes. Fri-Jado’s Custom Counters may be supplied with a wide variety of finishes, including tiled, stone and wood cladding to meet house livery and style. Logos, signwriting and branding may also be accommodated for personalisation of counters.

The company offers a design service using its proprietary ‘Configurator’ 3D modelling software, with which Fri-Jado UK engineers are able to produce fully rendered illustrations of proposed counter layouts. The software allows customers to view realistic representations of proposed designs at the concept stage, simplifying the specification and quotation processes.


Tel: 01895 272227


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