We’ve all heard about the fatberg problem. Fats, oils and grease (FOGs) are slipping down our drains and into our sewers where they cool and coagulate, forming huge concrete-like fatbergs over time which block pipes and make it more likely that raw sewage will overflow directly into our waterways.
It’s a huge issue and we are all, in part, responsible. Those FOGs are coming from households, offices, schools, prisons and hospitals across the country. But the culprits most often pointed out in the media – and most often fined by water companies for playing a part in creating these sewer-blockers – are food businesses.
From fast food joints to fine-dining restaurants, food businesses are being called upon to take on the FOG problem and ensure that they are doing the very best they can do to make fatbergs a thing of the past.
But, while food businesses can ensure their grease management practices are up to scratch and invest in some quality equipment – it’s the producers of that catering equipment who have the real power to solve the fatberg problem once and for all.
So: what are commercial catering equipment manufacturers doing to tackle fatbergs?
Let’s look a little closer.
Synergy and the Synergy Grill
Synergy grills are renowned for their quality output. They’re sure to produce clean and succulent char-grilled results which look and smell fantastic, each and every time. They’re also ideal for catering to a wide variety of dietary requirements: with a low smoke output and optional grill divide, you can cook safe in the knowledge that you won’t have chicken flavours drifting over and mixing with your vegetarian offerings, even if they’re on the same grill.
What’s more, Synergy Grills are great for cracking down on grease. The FOG which inevitably drips through the grill’s racks falls prey to a high-heat unique gas burner system which simply atomises fat, leaving an easy to collect layer of dry and dusty debris to be vacuumed away once the grill is cool and the racks are removed.
Ensuring you avoid contributing to the FOG problem while producing quality food time after time, a Synergy grill can be an excellent investment.
But, Synergy are not the only brand looking out for food-preppers conscious of their fat, oil and grease waste.
Rational and the Grease Drip Collector
Rational have a whole range of grease solutions for those who need them.
For those who already own a Rational oven and are looking for a solution to their combi oven’s grease problem, for instance, Rational offer an innovative Grease Drip Collector. Sitting below the unit, these drip collectors ensure that any stray drips of grease which might otherwise find its way onto floors or walls or other surfaces ends up all in one place.
Once collected, the grease can then be left to cool until it’s safe to handle. Once it is, disposal is made that little bit easier with Rational’s Drip Collector’s tap and drain hose allowing you to simply siphon the grease off into a container which can be sent out with the rest of your FOG waste.
Sometimes the least-complicated solutions are simply the best, but Rational also cater for those who are looking for something a little more high tech.
The Centrifugal Grease Extraction System
Centrifugal separation involves pumping a mixture into a spinning chamber where gravitational forces separate the mixture into layers and so make the various elements of that mixture easier to collect.
Rational have taken the idea of centrifugal separation and applied it to grease management – to enable fats, oils and grease to be separated from water and collected with ease.
Integrating centrifugal grease extraction systems into their cooking appliances, from their Combi-Ovens to their Cooking Centres, Rational have ensured that cooking air is kept consistently clean – meaning you’ll be producing great tasting food time after time. Meanwhile, you won’t need to worry about those pesky additional grease filters any longer.
If centrifuges are a little too high-tech for you – but you like the idea of clever innovations – another catering manufacturer may have the answer for you:
Unox and the SMART Drain
Unox knows that grilling, frying and roasting whole heaps of food, particularly meat, can spell disaster for a food businesses’ drains. And they know that the FOGs inevitably produced from all that cooking can cause chaos in our sewers.
So, they’ve designed an add-on for their combi ovens, such as the Cheftop, which aims to make it easier for you to intercept the fats, oils and grease which seep out of your foods while they cook before they make it anywhere near your sinks.
The SMART drain is essentially a two-way valve which sits below your Unox appliance and above a waiting container. This valve is programmable: it’s able to work in sync with the cooking programs of the appliance in question and its positioning can be easily adjusted from the appliance’s control panel if necessary.
With a touch of intelligence, Unox’s SMART drains can make grease collection a little more foolproof, so that all you have to worry about is swapping out the collection containers once they’ve filled up and responsibly disposing of that FOG waste.
These three brands go to show that there are plenty of catering manufacturers in the market working to help food businesses tackle the fatberg problem with a range of innovative solutions. And there are sure to be many more of those solutions on their way: the future is bright for grease management.
But, we haven’t made fatbergs a thing of the past just yet: there is still plenty more we could be doing, as an industry, to ensure that our sewers keep running as smoothly as possible.
If you are a food business owner looking to do your bit, and looking to invest in some of these great pieces of catering equipment, be sure to begin with the basics – invest in and install a good quality grease trap today.