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NAFEM show

What the future of equipment looks like


Even though 2023 was the first NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) show in four years, there were a lot of familiar faces and industry solutions we saw peppered throughout the show floor, from kitchen essentials to smarter and more customized equipment and cutting-edge technology.

Here are some of the trends and products we saw on the NAFEM show floor that operators should be paying attention to:

Labor solutions abound: The theme of the show was undoubtedly labor-saving products. Automation and customization have been taking a hold of the industry for a long time now as operators are looking to equipment to become more efficient. From pizza vending machines to robot arms that can fry French fries or sprinkle pepperoni and cheese onto a pizza, each of the robotics booths drew crowds of people.

But it’s not just robotics either: There were multiple quick cold brew machines designed for use by cafes that can brew cold brew coffee and teas in a fraction of the time of a typical 12-hour cold brew process.  

Pizza products: The show floor was peppered with several pizza equipment products. Besides the pizza vending machine and robot arms, there were also high-tech pizza ovens that are the next generation in pizza-making technology and can make multiple styles and pies of pizza at once, with little human intervention.

Are buffets coming back? Buffets got a bit of a bad rep during the pandemic, but they might be coming back with a vengeance with new sanitary measures, like a salad dispensing machine that can automatically dispense portions of lettuce, tomatoes and other salad ingredients for a salad bar, or a hot and cold buffet station that can keep foods at multiple temperatures on the same buffet line.

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