While U.S. refrigeration manufacturer Hussmann touted its recent acquisition by Japanese electronics giant Panasonic at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Connect conference last month, the Bridgeton, Missouri-based company did not divulge which Panasonic refrigeration products it would be bringing to the U.S. market.
“We’re trying to introduce Panasonic to our customers,” said Andres Lacassie, director, retail products portfolio, Hussmann, at the company’s FMI Connect booth. “We’re going to use their technology in the future to provide additional value to the market.”
But he added that Hussmann has not decided “what we are going to bring or by when. We are reviewing what makes the most sense for the market and our customers”.
Panasonic’s $1.5 billion acquisition of Hussmann was announced late last year and closed on April 1. Hussmann is continuing to operate autonomously as an independent subsidiary of Panasonic. “It takes time until we understand each other and we understand their value proposition to the market, and how we can support it,” said Lacassie.
In Japan, Panasonic markets transcritical CO2 condensing units to small-format outlets like convenience stores. The company hopes to leverage Hussmann’s sales and service network to introduce its CO2 units to small-format stores and foodservice establishments in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Panasonic’s CO2 condensing unit has not yet been UL-certified, noted Quentin Crowe, product manager for Hussmann.
Meanwhile, Hussmann is also in a partnership with Quebec-based Systemes LMP to market CO2 transcritical rack systems to large-format retailers. “We’re seeing tremendous activity with CO2 [racks] in supermarkets,” said Lacassie. He said Hussmann does not see a conflict between Panasonic and Systemes LMP. “They are complimentary.”
Hussmann has also supplied self-contained cases using propane as a refrigerant to two Texas retailers – H.E. Butt Grocery and Lowe’s Markets. “We feel [propane units] will play a part in the future,” said Lacassie.