Often catering equipment is labelled with a ‘GN’ number. GN is shorthand for Gastronorm. Originally this system started as a method of maximising oven & fridge capacity by using containers that were compatible in size with the oven cavity, so that no corners were left unused. For manufacturers of catering equipment, it gives a uniform sizing structure to the containers sizes in the catering industry.

There are 9 different sizes, based on the outer dimensions of the container. A full-size gastronorm container is referred to as a GN 1/1 and measures 530mm long x 325mm wide. All other sizes are fractions or multiples of this size. (See table below).

1/9 – 108 x 176mm
1/6 – 176 x 162mm
1/4 – 265 x 163mm (quarter)
1/3 – 325 x 176mm
1/2 – 325 x 265mm (half)
1/1 – 530 x 325mm (full)
2/1 – 650 x 530mm (double)
2/3 – 354 x 325mm
2/4 – 530 x 162mm

Another benefit of using the GN system pans is that they are modular in design. E.g., if you have a GN 1/1 sized well this could be filled with a GN 1/1 pan or 2 x 1/2 GN pans, or 1 x 1/2 GN pan & 2 x 1/4 GN pans or even 6 x 1/6 GN pans. This gives great flexibility to combine containers to suit the users’ needs and menu options.

GN pans and trays are available in a variety of depths and constructed of a variety of materials. Stainless steel pans are used for cooking, for keeping food warm & for chilling. Often used in buffet display such as a bains marie as they retain the heat and keeps food warm. The food can be cooked in the pan and kept warm without the need for changing containers.

Perforated metal GN pans are predominately used for steaming, whilst composite plastic materials such as polypropylene & polycarbonate are often used for keeping foods refrigerated. They are flexible, strong and if transparent allow easy identification when used for storage.

Before you buy it is best to check the following:

Are/are not GN pans included with the equipment that you are buying.

Is the GN material chosen fit for the purpose you are using them for? Some materials can be used for both cooking and refrigeration and some are only for display.

Will the pans fit the equipment? Don’t forget the depth – this is often detailed on the product description page. Standard GN pan depths are 20mm, 40mm, 65mm, 100mm, 150mm & 200mm.

Need lids? These are available to fit most GN pan sizes but are often sold separately. Options include lids with cut-outs for keeping ladles/utensils organised.

Need spacing bars? A spacing bar allows you to customise your pan layout.

Require drainer plates? Placed in the bottom of the gastronorm pan, these allow the unwanted juices/grease and liquid to drain from the food through the holes in the plate.

In need of Gastronorms or just some advice? Talk to a member of our team on 01379 641223.

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