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Canadian tastes reflected in beverage equipment.

The Grindmaster Corporation views Canada as a vital and growing market. Last year Canadians purchased a significant quantity of Grindmaster beverage equipment. To ensure the success of their beverage programs, Canadian coffee roasters are choosing varieties of beverage equipment that reflect the needs, tastes and trends of the Canadian consumer.

The impact of a new health consciousness in Canada has resulted in an increase in the use of Crathco visual display, refrigerated beverage dispensers. People want options to caffeinated and carbonated drinks. The Mini-Quad and Mini-Twin dispensers have experienced overwhelming success as foodservice operators in Canada respond to this trend. The Mini units offer more flavors and more profits in less counter space

Lindy Howlings, vice president of sales and marketing for Danamark, LTD. in Toronto, the Canadian distributor for our Grindmaster and Crathco equipment, says the coffee roasters have been some of the largest purchasers of the Mini units. "Coffee sales typically slump during the summer months. Roasters are buying a lot of the Mini dispensers to meet the customers' demands for alternative beverages."

Naturally, roasters want to sell coffee, but the demand for these Mini units reflects a realistic reaction to changing market behavior. To keep driving sales, big roasters such as General Foods Canada, Nestle, Lipton and Brazilian Coffee must offer what customers want, which includes non-carbonated alternatives to coffee.

"Beverage alternatives are very important. Cold drinks such as juices, powdered drinks and iced tea are very big. General Foods appears to be having a great deal of success with its Crystal Light brand," Lindy added.

"What's attractive about the Mini units is that the beverage is sold quicker, looks fresher and is more appealing overall," says Bob Thomson, vice president of international sales. "Multiple bowls mean more choice to the consumer and the size means operators save valuable counter space." The Mini-Twin has two seven or nine liter bowls and is 12 inches wide; the MiniQuad has four bowls and is 21 inches wide.

Such well known foodservice operators as Dunkin Donuts, Select Sandwiches, New York Fries and Timothy's Coffees of the World have added Mini units to their beverage operations in Canada.

Visual display beverage dispensers are ideal for iced tea, a common cold beverage alternative to coffee both in the U.S. and Canada. Surprisingly, the beverage is different across the border. Lindy explains that most Canadians drink a powdered form of iced tea unlike fresh brewed tea typical in the states. "It comes powdered with lots of sugar and lemon and little true tea content."

Murray Schelter, president of Ambassador Coffee and Vending Service of Toronto and chairman of the National Coffee Service Association located in Fairfax, Virginia likes the U.S. version of iced tea. "I think brewed iced tea is a wonderful drink with great potential in this country, but there's a substantial amount of missionary work to be done to convince the rest of Canada."

A witness to the success of iced tea is OCS operations in the states, Murray believes fresh brewed iced tea is a market waiting to be seized and sees a big opportunity in OCS operations and restaurant foodservice.

Despite a market for alternatives, Canadians are still drinking plenty of coffee. The kinds of coffee they drink are affected by a strong European influence. Lindy Howlings says, "Europe is reflected in our coffee preferences. Espresso, cappuccino and Turkish coffees are very big here and Turkish is especially big in Quebec."

In order to produce the finest quality coffee, very finely ground and blended beans are paramount. Precision granulating burrs are the key element to the proper grind profile. "We haven't always had the equipment to meet our needs," says Lindy. "There have been great advances and companies like Grindmaster are responding to the trends with new equipment that makes coffee the way we like it."

"Overall, the demand for fresh ground coffee is on the rise here, but for so long, the only grinders available were larger supermarket versions or high volume restaurant grinders."

Lindy believes many of the little mom & pop restaurants and convenience stores have stayed away from grinder purchases because their sales didn't permit the expense of a large grinder. With new equipment on the horizon, fresh ground and brewed coffee could become the rule and not the exception.

One of the products she's refering to is the Grindmaster Model 190 medium duty portion control grinder. The size is just right for medium-sized foodservice operations, convenience stores, gourmet coffee programs and OCS. The 190 stands just under 20 inches and has a large visual display of the whole bean coffee.

Grindmaster's new line of low profile brewers are a perfect match for the 190 grinders. The brewers utilize an advanced, volumetric brewing system designed to handle all types of use situations including the most severe water conditions, as well as low or fluctuating water pressure.

The low profile height of 17 inches addresses the demand for brewers to fit in low places such as under a counter in an office. An airpot brewer is also part of the line-up. It allows the user to brew directly into an airpot.

These portable airpots will maintain the quality and temperature of coffee for hours after brewing without heating the coffee and without the use of electric.

It's clear that Canadians enjoy their specialty coffees, but curiously one new coffee beverage that does not seem to go over well is iced coffee. Of our two Canadian contacts, one found iced coffee delightful, the other found it rather unpalatable.

Bob Thomson, though, thinks Canadians will eventually catch on. "Many trends in the states make it to Canada. It just takes time. Iced coffee is relatively new to most of the U.S. and that affects Canadian consumption." The trend is apparently growing on U.S. college campuses. The roasters see this as a wonderful opportunity to get young people drinking coffee.

When Murray Schelter recently saw his daughter graduate from college in Canada, he noticed Crathco Mini-Quad visual beverage dispensers everywhere in the foodservice operation on campus. "They were quite popular there, but I didn't see any that served iced coffee."

We'll be keeping our eyes on Canada and watching those trends. They may take a few years to get there as Bob Thomson says, but certainly Canadians have a few trends of their own.

Karl D. Kuiper President Grindmaster Corp. Louisville, Kentucky
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Grindmaster Corporation
Author:Kuiper, Karl D.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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