There’s no doubt that consumers today are looking for healthier menu options, but on the other hand, fried items, like chicken nuggets and French fries, remain strong-selling staples at quick-service restaurants. Frymaster, a leading manufacturer of commercial foodservice equipment, is providing operators with a way to address this dichotomy by educating visitors to the North American Association of Food Manufacturers show about the tenets of “Fit Frying.”
Frymaster Vice President of Marketing Brenda Humphreys explains that Fit Frying involves four principles:
- Finding the right fryer
- Selecting the right oil
- Using best practices or “right” cooking processes
- Providing the right maintenance
Finding the right fryer means taking into account both the products a restaurant serves and the volume at which they are sold. Restaurants that serve primarily fried chicken, for instance, would need a tube-style fryer, while restaurants who’s frying needs focus on fries should opt for an open-pot fryer and those featuring specialty fried products should go for the flat-bottom variety.
The next step involves chosing the right oil for your frying needs, which, in todays increasingly health conscious society means finding an oil that meets both consumer demand for taste and nutritional value. With a variety of oils in the market to choose from these days, there’s a lot to consider, but most consumers like to see oils with low or no trans fats and cholesterol.
Step three in Fit Frying is to find the right process to minimize potential oil contamination and slow changes in composition that can result from use.
The final step–and perhaps the most important–is to ensure that frying equipment gets the right maintenance to ensure the longevity of the product. This means using proper filtering techniques, which Humphreys equates to automobile care. “Let’s say you never change the oil in your car,” she says. “Your engine is not going to last that long, and this provides a good analogy for fryer care and maintenance.”
In order to help foodservice customers apply Fit Frying techniques in their operations, Frymaster is currently testing an integrated system, which combines consulting, equipment, maintenance, and employee education for an optimum frying experience. The system, which does not yet have a name, allows operators to mix and match different types of fryers to create a customized unit specific to their frying needs. It will also be fitted with a touch-screen control panel that puts fryer training and maintenance information right at employee’s fingertips.
“Instead of having some manual in the back room that’s earmarked or you just can’t read it, it’s embedded in the product,” Humphreys explains.
Though the product is still in the pilot stage and is just now being tested by restaurants, Humphreys says she does expect it to be rolled out in the next six months.