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Freezing technology - Articles and news items

Current advances in food freezing

Issue 5 2014  •  27 October 2014  •  Christian James and Stephen J. James, Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Frozen food is one of the largest sectors of the food industry and its value is increasing throughout the world. The frozen food market in seven of the major Western European Economies was valued at €83.51 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow in value by 10.89 per cent by 2016. The market is broadly segmented into frozen; vegetables and fruits, potatoes, ready meals, meat, fish/seafood and soup and more than 35 per cent of this market is in the frozen ready meals sector. In a previous article for New Food we discussed different innovative freezing technologies for foods. Apart from impingement, many of the technologies discussed are still in development. In this article we will look at proven technologies…

Innovative freezing technologies for foods

Issue 4 2012  •  6 September 2012  •  Stephen J. James & Christian James, Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Freezing is a well-established food preservation process that produces high quality nutritious foods that offer the advantage of a long storage life. However, freezing is not suitable for all foods and freezing does cause physical and chemical changes in many foods that are perceived as reducing the quality of the thawed material.

There is a general view that fast freezing, and the formation of small ice crystals, offers some quality advantages. However, this is not true of all foods. For example, while freezing rate may affect drip in meat there is no evidence that it has any substantial influence on its final eating quality. Nevertheless, many innovative freezing processes are currently being researched and developed across the globe to improve freezing times and product quality.

Some innovative freezing processes (impingement and Hydro-fluidisation) are essentially improvements of existing methods (air blast and immersion, respectively) that by providing far higher surface heat transfer rates than previous systems, aim to improve product quality through rapid freezing. In these cases, the advantages may depend on the size of the product, since the poor thermal conductivity of many foods limits the rate of cooling in large objects rather than the heat transfer between the cooling medium and the product.

 

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