Chafing fuel is basically a heating fuel. Chafing fuel cans are placed under the chafing dish for heating food, thus, not used for cooking food. Chafing fuel is sold in a small canister and burned directly within the canister, with or without a wick. Ethanol, methanol, or glycol are the types of fuel used in chafing fuel cans. Chafing fuel canisters are available in different sizes and volumes of fuel or gel. Chafing fuel canisters can be utilized safely indoors, and produce minimal soot or odor. They are also utilized for outdoor cooking, emergency heating, and fondue.
Proper selection of the type of chafing fuel can increase burning hours and minimize accidents caused by improper usage. Fluctuation in prices of raw materials such as natural gas and crude oil coupled with stringent regulations related to bottling of chafing fuel acts as a restraint of the chafing fuel market. An alternative to using chafing fuel is induction chafers with induction warmers or electric chafing warmers. Induction warmers are comparatively safe, as they heat the food within the induction chafer, however, stay cool on the exterior. This reduces accidental burns and injuries during the heating operation. However, the cost of utilizing chafing fuel-based can is low, as compared to other alternatives
Globally, chafing fuel cans are marketed by several companies, traders, distributers, and wholesalers. The restaurant industry is a trillion-dollar industry, and the primary driver for chafing fuel cans is restaurants, which serve food in chafing dishes, i.e. buffet dinning. Moderate initial investment coupled with less payback period makes chafing fuel an attractive market for investment. The major advantages chafing fuel cans offer to end-users include their highly portable nature and light weight. Increasing demand for activities such as camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities is likely to propel the demand for warm and hygienic food, especially chafing fuel cans, which are utilized for heating purposes. Presently, consumers are more inclined toward tourism, camping, and picnics. This has raised the demand for portable energy storage devices utilized for food heating purposes.
The chafing fuel market can be segmented based on type and burn time. Based on fuel type, the chafing fuel market can be segmented into wick fuel, gel fuel, and wick-gel fuel. Wick fuel-based chafing fuel cans are available in two types: traditional and steam. However, both traditional and steam employ clean burning glycol fuel. Wick fuel-based chafing fuel cans are safer than gel fuel-based cans, since the spilled glycol does not combust without a wick. Gel-based chafing fuels are available in two types: ethanol-based and methanol-based. Gel-based chafing fuel cans have a strong heating performance as compared to wick fuel-based chafing fuel canisters. Both wick-gel fuel-based chafing fuel cans are environmental friendly and deliver high quality heat for adequate chafing warming. Based on burn time, the market can be segregated into two-hour, four-hour, and six-hour burn time.
Currently, North America accounts for a major share of the global chafing fuel market. In the U.S., several manufacturers of chafing fuel cans have backward integrated into manufacturing of aerosol containers, valves, and nozzles. This has provided a competitive edge against competitors who are dependent on the supply of aerosol containers. The chafing fuel market in North America is more mature, vis-à-vis that in other regions.
However, the chafing fuel market in South Korea, China, India, and ASEAN is expected to expand at a high growth rate during the forecast period, owing to the year-on-year in increase in number of hi-tech restaurants in these countries. In Europe, more than 350 companies are active in the aerosol industry. These range from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to multinationals. Nearly, 3% to 9% of aerosol containers manufactured in Europe are utilized in filling of chafing fuel.
Key manufacturers and suppliers of chafing fuel include flamos Ltd., Kelmin Products Inc, Coral Fuel Gel, and Roshchem Industries.