2023 marked the 43rd edition of the biennial industry show which occupies the entire 345,000m2 Fiera Milano complex, with 2,000 exhibitors across 14 halls and visitors in excess of 180,000 across 5 days, from 13th to 17th October.
This year, True occupied a larger 263m2 space in their traditional Hall 3 location, with a booth designed to focus more on customer hospitality rather than a split of different “shop” concepts, as in previous years. The 2023 booth also did more to highlight True’s logistical capabilities and corporate responsibilities, alongside its products on display.
“We wanted to have not only the most visually impressive booth at the show but also provide an experience which visitors would remember” states Olga Beck, True’s Sales & Marketing Director for the EMEA region.
The 2023 True booth was split into 6 areas, each integrating key products from the commercial refrigeration manufacturers wide range.
With hospitality at the heart of the concept, True’s ‘Welcome Lounge’ area was positioned in the middle of the stand, with a large “palm” centerpiece surrounded by a working bar.
Incorporated into the bar were black powder coated True undercounter refrigerators with gold handles, an example of the color-customization and “hardware” options offered by the manufacturer.
During the show, the bar was put through its paces by mixologists from Swedish events agency, Cocktail Gruppen, who served a special menu of True Refrigeration-themed cocktails and mocktails to stand visitors.
After being greeted by their dedicated account manager and receiving their refreshing welcome, the first stop on the booth tour for guests was the ‘Retail Zone’.
The “Retail” market has taken on more significance for True over the past few years, since the introduction of regulations in regions like Europe and the UK, mandating energy labelling and the definition of display coolers categorized as either Supermarket Cabinets (i.e., food-holding) or separately as Beverage Coolers.
“True has been making glass door refrigerators and freezers for decades” states Scott Jones, True’s Senior Sales Director for the EMEA. “In a market flooded with cheap bottle coolers, it was sometimes difficult for operators to appreciate the added value of our products, which have always prioritized fast pull-down and the paramount importance of maintaining food-safe temperatures. Now, it is a legal requirement in Europe and the UK for manufactures to state whether there’s is one thing or the other. Be assured, all True glass door upright cabinets are designed, tested, and certified for food retail.”
The Retail Zone at Host comprised of an L-shaped line-up of recessed merchandiser cabinets, including popular models from True’s Glass Door Merchandiser (GDM) and Visual Merchandiser (TVM) ranges.
Also on show was True’s TGO-27~POP01~TSL01 unattended retail solution. In collaboration with technology partner, 365 Retail Markets, the TGO-27 (or “True Go”) features a door-lock synced to a mounted barcode scan and card payment terminal, creating a fully self-contained vending solution, ideal for placement in areas such as staff rooms or hotel lobbies.
Debuting at the show was a preview of a new Visual Merchandiser concept, introduced by True’s Director of Sales & Marketing for its US Retail Division, Todd Washburn, who explained “The product features a distinctive curved-edge glass door design as well as features like an illuminated handle, but more importantly, it has a greater net capacity compared to other cabinets with a similar footprint, allowing operators to stock and sell more product.”
The next stop on the tour was the ‘Foodservice Station’ section of the booth, which featured prep table products built-in to a rectangular island, all powder coated in True’s Emerald Green custom color.
A glass lid TSSU model was used during the show in full view of visitors to store and prepare the hors d’oeuvre and snacks being served. This section of the booth also featured a line-up of Refrigerated Chef Bases (TRCB), enhanced with True’s SPEC3 build material and aesthetic upgrade package, with all stainless steel construction and extruded metal drawer handles, another debut for EU audiences.
Not primarily an equipment-focused area but rather one highlighting the logistical capabilities of the organization, the ‘Global Shipping’ wall served to remind visitors of True’s wide reach as an international brand.
Much of the company’s business today continues to come from the supply and support of equipment to established chains who operate on a global scale. Few refrigeration manufacturers operate on the same geographic scale as the largest restaurant brands and fewer still are setup to actively support the equipment once in the field.
“We provide a local service to all our major markets throughout the world.” States Wilco Koerntjes, True’s Technical & Operations Director for EMEA. “We aren’t just dropping off a fridge at your door and then walking away. We supply our equipment with the longest and most comprehensive parts & labor warranty, 5 Years, backed by our technical support partners throughout the world. We have people you can talk to. We speak your language”.
The Global Shipping area of the booth did contain one surprise, with the EU debut of a True FlexTemp cabinet, due to hit the market next year. An extension of the T-Series upright storage range, FlexTemp cabinets are able to switch between refrigerator and freezer holding temperatures at the flick of a switch, providing a new level of flexibility to operators.
Like all brands, the subject of “Sustainability” is becoming more and more prevalent in the conversations True is having with its customers in EMEA. As a manufacturer operating on a global scale, True is very aware of its responsibility to reduce and mitigate the negative environmental impact of its operations.
The company knew it was important to position Sustainability as a pillar of the booth and continue the discussion with visitors around the lengths it is going to, in the short and longer terms, to lead on the subject of environmentally responsible equipment manufacture.
A large screen ran key messaging highlighting the positive impact (on the environment and utility bills) which prioritizing energy efficient equipment procurement can have, linked to the Energy and Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator for Commercial Refrigeration tool which can be found on the brands’ website. This section of the booth also displayed further colored units, in British Racing Green and Cobalt Blue hues.
The tour concluded with a visit to the ultra impactful ‘Color Lounge’ area, where equipment and décor alike was coated in a matching shade of “red violet”, True EMEA’s signature color.
The monochrome showpiece drew attention from across the show hall, with key products from True’s T-Series, TUC and TCR ranges seamlessly integrated into the display.
In conjunction with the show, True launched on their website (https://truerefrigeration.ch/customise/) an updated selection of powder coat color options that are now available, including Bluestone, Juniper, Sage and Turquoise.
One final surprise was the presence of a TGN-2R upright cabinet featuring full glass doors, a much-requested option for the 2/1 GN compatible storage unit which is expected to be available in 2024.
“On behalf of True, I want to thank everyone who visited us at Host this year” concluded Olga Beck. “As well as being a high-profile showcase for our products and services, we wanted the stand and the hospitality offered to reflect our ongoing and sincere appreciation for our partners. So, thank you, and we look forward to our continued collaboration”.
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