As fast food chains and restaurants introduce design-your-own options and retailers offer personalised packaging, choice is becoming more important to and expected from consumers.
To allow coffee shops to seamlessly introduce more variety to their menus, Marco Beverages Systems has released the FRIIA, its first venture into the cold-water market.
The compact undercounter system is able to deliver hot, cold, and sparkling water, all from a single tap.
“As experts in the hot-water market, it was an obvious choice to expand into the cold-water space. Our distributors and customers wanted to offer complete water solutions to their end-users so we developed FRIIA to facilitate this need,” Kiernan says.
“FRIIA was developed as a sleek, energy-efficient and multi-purpose solution to changing global and industry trends around plastic, sustainability and healthy beverage choice.”
She tells Global Coffee Report that Marco has seen an increasing demand for healthy beverage choices and overall decline in the consumption of sugary drinks.
“We also saw how single-use plastic and sustainability were becoming a key issue for consumers and companies alike,” Kiernan says.
“From an industry perspective, we saw how consumers’ understanding and evolving tastes led to a proliferation of choice in the out-of-home beverage market. As demand for high quality, healthy and sustainable beverages grew, we saw how new sectors began to meet these needs. Offices, convenience stores and retailers upped their game in providing quality beverage choice.”
In particular, Kiernan says the demand for cold beverages has reached new levels.
“We have seen a decrease in alcohol consumption and a rise in low or no alcohol-by-volume alternatives,” she says. “Similarly, in the coffee and tea industries we see cold and iced drinks as standard menu items. Kombucha, iced teas, and water infusions are also highly in demand as customers seek healthy, refreshing drinks.”
While developing its first foray into the cold-water market, Marco Beverage Systems consulted a range of customers from within and out of the coffee industry.
“Knowledge is a core brand pillar of ours and it played a huge role in developing FRIIA. At Marco, we’re lucky to have exceptional relationships and networks within the coffee industry and the FRIIA system was developed with our customers in mind,” Kiernan says.
“Using our contacts within the coffee and foodservice industries, we were able to identify the pain points and needs for our customers and incorporate solutions into our FRIIA system.”
This consultation gave rise to the issues many cafés, offices and hospitality businesses face with space limitations, above and below the counter.
“We recognised that design and space are still crucial considerations for any fit-out. Traditional point-of-use water systems not only took up space, they relied on plastic drums and often didn’t align with the overall space aesthetic,” Kiernan says.
“FRIIA incorporates the same sleek design, precision control and user-friendly settings as the rest of our Marco equipment. Like the Marco MIX, FRIIA is a system that gives users control, flexibility, and consistency in their menu offering.”
Space taken up above the counter was also carefully considered.
“We wanted our fonts to be as sleek and minimal as possible. We also wanted to ensure the systems were easy-to-use, install and service,” Kiernan says.
Through consultation, Marco Beverage Systems determined the different requirements of a hot and cold-water tap, and how these can both be accommodated in one unit.
“Hot and cold-water systems are used differently. Water boilers are used to fill kettles or cups whereas a water chiller will need to fill higher volumes of water. This means that the application of the systems needs to be considered before installation,” Kiernan says.
“For chillers, one must take into consideration things like incoming water temperature, which will impact the output whereas this is not a consideration when using our water boilers, which rely on a heat-fill process.”
The FRIIA incorporates Marco Beverage System’s existing hot water technology with a chiller-block cooling system. The undercounter chiller uses aluminium block technology to chill incoming water by an average of 10˚C. The boiler contains a vacuum insulated tank to ensure temperature accuracy and energy-efficiency. Kiernan says using Marco’s existing boiler equipment as a base improves the energy use of the new system.
“FRIIA is up to 23 per cent more energy-efficient than competitors and this is mainly due to the award-winning boiler. The boiler has a vacuum insulated tank that maintains water temperature and reduces heat loss. This means that not only does water temperature remain stable and precise, the system does not consume excess energy,” she says.
“Sustainability is a key social and economic topic and for businesses, this can have a significant impact on their operating costs and bottom line.”
FRIIA also allows venues to offer a variety of beverage options that don’t require outsourcing or single-use packaging, further improving its sustainability footprint.
“Roasters, cafés, or coffee chains would hugely benefit from introducing FRIIA for two important reasons. One is beverage choice. From a single system, they can make hot drinks such as tea, americanos, or hot chocolate, and cold or sparkling drinks such as lemonade or iced tea,” Kiernan says.
“Second is customer value. Retail sites can give their customers added value by offering cold, fresh water on tap, without adding to their single-use plastic consumption.”
With different venues possessing different requirements, Kiernan says Marco Beverage Systems intends to roll out a range of FRIIA variants in the coming months.
“We will be launching one-button cold and sparkling-only variants as well as two-button cold and sparkling or hot/cold variants,” Kiernan says. “[Venues] need a system that can deliver hot water, cold water, and sparkling water from a single tap. This is not just about capitalising on their investment, it’s about ensuring they make the most of their space.”