The UK frozen food market continues to go from strength to strength, with demand strong and sales up. According to the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), the sector is now worth £8.6 billion and growing at 4% year on year. And they forecast sales could exceed £10 billion by 2025. However, as sales are growing so is the demand for quality and choice. This is placing a strain on traditional food freezing methods. Mechanical freezing can create bottlenecks in production lines, limiting both the speed and flexibility of throughput. So, what are the alternative solutions?
Cryogenic freezing has the answer
Increasingly food producers are looking to innovations such as cryogenic freezing, where liquid nitrogen evaporates on contact with the food product and turns into a gas that freezes food in minutes not hours. And because the food is frozen on a conveyor belt, not in a batch, it is simple and quick to change from freezing one product type to another, providing invaluable flexibility.
Quicker freezing without compromising quality
Why is this? Well, first of all, food dehydrates when it is frozen, impairing both its taste and texture. Ultra-quick cryogenic freezing can reduce this dehydration from 6% to 0.5% when compared to traditional mechanical methods. Second, food contains a lot of water – it makes up to 90% of the weight of most fruit and vegetables. Slower freezing creates larger ice crystals that damage the cell structure of the food, spoiling the texture when it’s defrosted causing ‘drip loss’. So the speed of the freeze preserves freshness, taste, texture and nutrients. And you can now achieve unprecedented levels of precision with both the duration and depth of freeze, due to the high-speed internal fans and controllable gas injection systems in our cryogenic freezer tunnels. In food production, reputation is everything. If your hard work and dedication have earned you access to the high margin, artisan food market, you can protect and strengthen that position using cryogenic freezing. It enhances food quality and demonstrates your commitment to the latest technologies in pursuit of customer satisfaction. It also boosts your green credentials, as frozen food with an extended shelf life can combat food waste.
More good news
Freezing food faster increases productivity and profits. The fact you can also quadruple productivity within the same square footage by switching from traditional methods is another major bonus, given the pressure on factory floor space within many companies. Cryogenic freezers are also simpler to clean, reducing hygiene turnaround times, and require less maintenance. And if you’re daunted by the prospect of major CapEx investment, you can lease your cryogenic freezers from BOC.
Put cryogenics to the test yourself
With BOC, you can trial your own food products in different cryogenic freezers at our state of the art Food Technology Centre. We’re on hand to help, advise and answer all your questions.
Could BOC’s advanced cryogenic freezing techniques transform your food production methods?