Anyone in the restaurant, food preparation or hospitality knows how crucial it is to maintain a sanitary and clean kitchen. Contaminated food can lead to serious health issues for your customers and a messy workspace can hurt your business’s reputation. Your choice of material plays an essential role in your kitchen’s hygiene and maintenance requirements.

Stainless steel has long been the go-to material for commercial kitchen surfaces, thanks to its affordability, strength, and natural antibacterial qualities. However, it’s important to note that not all stainless steel is considered ‘food grade’ or safe to use for food preparation. On this page, we’ll explain what makes stainless steel approved for food and how using this material in your business can provide a range of benefits.

Defining Food Grade Stainless Steel

In the most basic terms, stainless steel can be considered food-grade when it has been proven to be a safe surface to prepare food on. To qualify as food grade, the steel needs to be wear and tear resistant and usually contains between 14-18% chromium. This all contributes to making the alloy safe for use in food preparation without the risk of contamination.

The two grades of stainless steel used in the food industry are 304 and 316. Let’s take a quick look at the difference between the two.

  • 304 grade: This is the most used stainless steel in commercial kitchens and is used for appliances and equipment. It is the more affordable of the two options and is more flexible when it comes to fabrication.
  • 316 grade: This is considered surgical grade and is often used for cutlery, cookware, and utensils. Though it can be used for appliances and equipment, it is more expensive than 304 grade. Its higher corrosion resistance makes it a popular material for marine purposes, and its most common use is for marine work in or around saltwater.

food on stainless steel

Benefits of Using Food-Grade Stainless Steel

  • Corrosion resistant: The finish on stainless steel makes it non-corrosive, meaning water or oxidation won’t lead to rust. This is great both for the durability of your equipment and for keeping food safe for your customers.
  • Hygenic: Stainless steel doesn’t absorb odours, chemicals, or bacteria, all of which reduce the risk of contamination and make cleaning easier.
  • Durable: Commercial kitchens and food processing areas are hectic areas that need to be able to withstand the hustle and bustle of a busy shift. Stainless steel is durable and can last for decades when well maintained.
  • Ease of maintenance: In most cases, stainless steel is quick and easy to clean, making it perfect during busy times.
  • Customisable: Stainless steel can be fabricated by professionals into a range of shapes and sizes. This is great news for creating a kitchen layout that perfectly suits your needs and available space.

Applications in the Food Industry

Stainless steel is a staple in the food industry, being widely used in commercial kitchens, food processing plants, and catering. Stainless steel is used for benches, countertops, shelving, containers, work surfaces, cabinets, equipment and more. Its non-reactive quality, durability, flexibility and ability to handle extreme temperatures all make stainless steel the perfect material for a food preparation environment.

The layout of your kitchen is crucial to a successful work environment. Both the quality of your equipment and how it is installed in your workplace are essential for day-to-day operations to run smoothly. Martin Stainless Steel has fabricated benches for food processing plants, commercial catering, and kitchens. To see some examples of our work, look at our gallery of past projects.

How to Choose the Right Grade for Your Needs

The best choice for you will come down to a few factors, including what exactly you’re using it for, your budget, and the environment you’re working in. In most cases, 304-grade stainless steel will do the trick, but an expert can guide you in making the best choice. Martin Stainless Steel only uses high-quality stainless steel and can help advise you on the best choice.

Maintenance and Care Tips

Stainless steel is one of the easiest materials to clean and maintain, making it ideal for busy environments like a kitchen or factory floor. In most cases, using warm water and soap is all you need to clean your stainless steel products. Use a fibre cloth or similarly gentle material to wipe the surface clean.

wiping stainless steel rangehood

Avoid any rough materials like steel wool that could scratch the surface. Also, harsh chemicals like bleach shouldn’t be used as they can cause more harm than good.

Martin Stainless Steel Can Make the Perfect Bench for Your Business

Choosing food-grade stainless steel for your commercial kitchen ensures you end up with a hygienic, durable, and easy-to-maintain workplace. For your customers and staff, food-grade stainless steel helps guarantee you produce clean and safe foods that will have them coming back. Not only does stainless steel serve essential practical needs, but it can also be a stylish addition that provides your workplace with a clean, modern look. Martin Stainless Steel has made a wide range of products for many different businesses, and our friendly, expert team is ready to take on your project!

Martin Stainless Steel has decades of experience fabricating high-quality kitchen layouts for many commercial kitchens. We specialise in creating custom solutions for even the most challenging environments. Whether it’s a bench for food preparation or an entire kitchen layout, our team has you covered.

To find out more or to discuss your project, get in touch with Martin Stainless Steel today!