THE SOURCE - Summer 2016 - (Page 16)

feature The Very Different Field of Commercial Foodservice Research and Development C By Frank Johnson, Ph.D. ommercial foodservice (CFs) is different from all other areas of research and development in the energy use sector-different for a manufacturer; different for an energy user; different for an energy provider; and, very different for an end-use customer. No other energy use industry has as high of a percent of the end-use customers with a familiarity or involvement at some point in their lives. An estimated 44 percent of the u.s. population eats out at least once a week for an average of nearly 200 times per year. But not only are people familiar with the product, they are very familiar with the process. According to Fast Food Nation by eric schlosser, one in eight of the current population of working age adults worked in foodservice at one point. Also, people are fascinated with food, cooking and the operation of restaurants; and, 80 percent currently watch at least one cooking related show1. everyone eats out; everyone has a food item they like and don't like; and, everyone has an opinion on what is good to eat and what is not. This variable, taste, is what makes foodservice different. The most important driver in CFs is a non-quantifiable value-taste. A water heater heats water to a certain temperature in a certain time. A furnace heats air to a set temperature. But in foodservice, one chef may like his meat grilled black on the outside and pink on the inside where another wants his consistent throughout. This difference makes it very difficult for the energy providers to truly understand what their customer needs and very difficult for research and development programs to know what needs to be developed to continue to grow the use of natural gas in foodservice. 16 THE SOURCE | THE vOICE and CHOICE Of pUblIC gaS Despite its difficulties, commercial foodservice is a very important market. The CFs industry is a significant and stable market for energy use in North America. According to survey data gathered by the energy Information Administration (eIA), commercial foodservice customers have 2.2 times the energy intensity (Btu/ft2) of the average commercial customer. Best available data suggest that over 450 trillion Btus or 0.45 Quads of energy are consumed yearly. The market also tends to be more stable or less affected by changing economics than other industries. Only twice in the past 20 years have foodservice sales failed to grow during a year. Available data for the most recent year estimates sales in North America to be over $680 billion in 2014 2. A stable market with growth potential usually makes for a fertile area for research and development of new and advanced gas-fired equipment. However, commercial foodservice

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Summer 2016

First Person
APGA Events
Expanding Your Network Through the Virtual Pipeline
Major Mergers
Q&A: Barry Russell
The Very Different Field of Commercial Foodservice Research and Development
Can Natural Gas Stay Cheap Forever This Time?
Home Fueling for Natural Gas Vehicles
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Summer 2016