19 April 2022
ACR Journal takes a look at the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) and how it has become an active member of ACRIB, representing refrigeration, air conditioning and ventilation services and contractors.
The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB) is a central forum for trade associations and professional bodies from all sectors and interests in or served by the RACHP industry. Established for over 20 years, ACRIB has been involved in supporting the UK Government in implementing F-Gas legislation, providing a balanced input to policymakers and legislators, and responding to legislative consultations and meeting with Government representatives while offering technical advice and industry guidance on good practice.
Several trade organisations are members of ACRIB, including FEA, previously known as CESA. FEA is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies that supply, service and maintain the full spectrum of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes. Refrigeration manufacturers and suppliers form a significant part of the Association’s membership.
FEA’s structure is focused on Product Group Forums, which support both members and foodservice operators. The Association’s Refrigeration Product Group Forum is made up of professionals working in refrigeration. The Forum’s remit is to debate, investigate, promote and report on a range of industry initiatives and issues, and to coordinate the technical and policy changes affecting commercial and professional refrigeration.
FEA is multi-faceted and directly aligned to the needs of its members and the industry at large. For example, the association provides several networking opportunities during the year – membership research confirmed that the majority found this to be very useful. However, networking is the tip of the iceberg in terms of our work, which ranges from tactical day to day tasks – such as answering members’ questions about legislation, or technical issues, or helping them explore export trade opportunities – to strategic work in ‘big picture’ areas.
Here FEA works directly with UK Government departments, such as BEIS, DEFRA and OPSS, lobbying, debating and advising on issues affecting our members, such as ensuring there is no divergence with EU regulations. For example, FEA presented its Five Point Plan to achieve net-zero carbon for the foodservice equipment industry to the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum. The plan is designed to encourage the use of energy-saving equipment by incentivising operators, manufacturers, resellers and consultants. It covers:
- Manufacturer tax credits – based on the number of energy-efficient models sold
- A net zero equipment recycling scheme – to encourage operators to replace old appliances with new, energy-efficient versions
- Giving energy-efficient equipment BREEAM and LEED certification points – to foster consultant and specifier engagement
- Incentivising dealers and resellers – by paying them extra commission when they sell energy-efficient equipment
- Developing a new Energy Technology List (ETL) – to make it easy for operators and specifiers to select sustainable and energy-efficient equipment
FEA is an active member of the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers (EFCEM) and utilises the strength of its interface with the EU Commission to influence legislation affecting foodservice equipment, for example on eco-design, energy labelling and F-Gas.
The Association also collaborates closely with a range of organisations, including the CBI, Make UK and BESA, and was a founder member of the Global Foodservice Equipment Suppliers Summit. We also work with the BSI on their standards committees.
The stronger we are, the more effective we can be in tackling the many challenges that our industry faces. We are looking to grow our membership across the whole equipment supply chain. At the same time, we’re looking at closer collaboration with other trade associations and organisations, to ensure that our voice is heard as loudly as possible in the corridors of power.
We’re also continuing our focus on training and education, to raise professionalism throughout the industry. Our established Certified Food Service Professional programme now has over 600 graduates. Our recently launched Light Equipment and Tableware Professional training initiative illustrates how we are building on CFSP’s success. We’re also promoting CFSP’s junior sibling, PFS (Principles of Food Service), a nine-module short course aimed at newcomers to the industry.