Shopping The NAFEM Show For Water Solutions

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water solutions

Article contributed by Brian Madden, Pentair


Many foodservice professionals will head to Orlando early next month for the every other year event. NAFEM is a show I always enjoy because it gives you the opportunity to see and source the latest industry technology.

Certainly in the circles I travel, the last two years since NAFEM ‘15 in Anaheim have brought a number of topics when it comes to water. I’m looking forward to the show to be able to source water solutions for the challenges ahead.

With the election of a new president, I’m convinced that after Flint, water is here to stay on political agendas. Water is no longer a Federal issue. It has truly become a state and local issue. So needless to say, if you are operating a restaurant or foodservice operation, you need to keep closely attuned to what’s going on in your local municipality.

I found in working with a local official in Massachusetts that the quality of water in a school cafeteria is a real priority. Frankly that type of concern typically benefits all local foodservice operators.

I expect to see a large contingent at NAFEM/Orlando of Hospital foodservice operators. They are major users of water throughout their operation. I’ve been working with a consultant at a women’s hospital in Virginia on a new kitchen. The hospital began looking at the investment in filters of a filtration system. What we did was to help them understand that the actual investment was in a mineral reduction system to protect their investment and avoid an expensive replacement a year down the road.

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I’ve also noticed with explosive growth of the craft beer that the industry is focused on finding the optimum way to clean glassware. I worked with a NYC based kitchen consultant and we were able to create a solution utilizing Reverse Osmosis, that uses applied pressure to push water through a semipermeable membrane. The goal is to improve taste and odor of water, especially helpful in places where drinking water is brackish or contains heavy metals.

As you walk the show floor keep in mind the impact that water has on your dish and ware washing operations. Low-temp machines are amazing. They have revolutionized dishwashing, but they clean differently. A lot of operators use a machine because their chemical provider gives them the machine and sell chemicals into it. It’s safe, it’s disinfected, but it’s not necessarily something you want to eat or drink out of without the proper filtration.

So I have a solution to maximizing the efficiency of the low-temp machine utilizing water filtration and at the same time ensuring food safety. Our Endurance filter line offers a simple solution. With 50 gallons a minute capacity, it has that ultra fiber membrane that cleans itself.

We’ve talked to a number of clients who have installed low-temperature glass washers and are worried about having to polish the spots out of their glasses. Come by our booth 2208 and we will help you find the correct filter.

The NAFEM show always attracts buyers from many of the larger coffee chains. As you know, there’s nothing more important to coffee than the water it is prepared with. We have found that operators are getting more and more particular these days. Starbucks or McDonald’s or convenience stores like WaWa, they’re coming in and saying, this is the quality we want, we sell a high volume of coffee so we want the highest quality. We help them get there.

It’s interesting how the show becomes very important for the chain, independent operators and the dealers that serve them because the water needs are not going to be the same. One client is opening a new coffee bar in Manhattan and New York City water tends to be very clean, very little mineral content. A lot of people say New York doesn’t have enough minerals in the water for a good cup of coffee, it’s only 55 parts per million (ppm) of dissolved solids. The client wanted it up above 180, so we used our Endurance system to accomplish his goal.

Finally as you tour the show, keep in mind how important water has become in the cooking process. Combi ovens have burst onto the scene. These ovens enable healthcare foodservice operators in many cases to pre-program actual menus into the units.

I see the challenges in operating and maintaining the combi oven to maintain the water’s balance. We provide a number of filtration solutions that can protect against high levels of chloride that can corrode and severely damage a combi oven.

Over the past couple of years, the pizza industry has continued to grow. So I expect to see a number of pizza operators from all over the world in Orlando looking for a water solution to ensure the consistency of their dough and pizzas.

Water hardness is probably responsible for more dough issues than any other factor. For example, let’s take two different stores on two different water supplies. One store gets hard water while the other store receives pre-treated (softened) water and both stores use the same dough ingredients and formulation. But the store that gets the softened water always has a softer dough, so we reduce the dough absorption. The reason for this is due to the strengthening effect of the calcium in the hard water (the calcium has been removed from the softened water). A very simple way to correct this is to add either non-bromates mineral yeast food (MYF), or calcium sulfate (CS), both of which are available from any ingredient supplier servicing the baking industry.

Have a great trip and don’t forget to stop by the booth and “say hi”. If you’d like to learn more, please contact me at brian.madden@pentair.com.


Brian Madden is a New Hyde Park , NY native. The Western Connecticut University graduate has built a reputation as one of the nation’s leading experts on water filtration. In his current post with Pentair, he is handling sales in the Northeast. Madden’s career includes successful stints with Pepsi in Las Vegas, Metro NY with Hoshizaki as well as being deployed by Pentair to China.