Maximizing frozen food quality through IQF technology

Maximizing frozen food quality through IQF technology

As the year's progress, frozen food keeps increasing in popularity. To meet this trend, many processing companies feel a need to turn to innovation to stay ahead of the game. Lucrative business ventures stay that way by providing the market with the best possible product. Frozen food is here to stay—and premium versions become an increasingly sought-after good, thanks to their long storage potential and preservation properties. 

The quality of frozen food is one of the key deciding factors in customer retention and maximizing it using proper technology is the best way to pave your businesses’ way forward. 

Recent years’ events, as well as even more recent worldwide developments, have put an added strain on western markets, especially on the food supply. Freezing is the natural next step in ensuring 2 key things: food waste is reduced, and food safety is ensured. In helping achieve these goals, Octofrost supplies some of the best solutions on the market.

With the latest freezing technology, it’s now more feasible than ever to preserve the food product quality as much as possible. Older methods had certain drawbacks, such as letting the product form clumps, stick together, or change its texture. IQF technology looks to remove these drawbacks. Here’s how:

What is IQF?

IQF freezing technology is based on the flash-freezing method initially discovered in the late ‘60s. Based on how fish froze quickly when laid on top of the snow, it was noticed to be preserving well when later thawed. It has been developed into a modern approach that adds to the initial stroke of genius a significant addition: the ability to separate the product. When working with small products that would ideally not stick together, IQF technologies supply the best solution available to separate them. Thanks to the IQF method, it’s possible to have delicate fruit such as blueberries that are frozen individually. 

IQF stands for individually quick-frozen, a freezing approach that looks to keep the same structure of the food as it was before freezing. That helps visual appeal. The freezing method itself has even more advantages for supplying a high-quality product. These are discussed further in this article.

How does it maximize quality?

For IQF frozen food, maximizing the quality revolves around a few aspects: visual appeal, nutritiousness, and health benefits.

  • Visual appeal—as previously mentioned, one of the key benefits in processing food through the IQF method  — is that individual pieces will be prevented from forming clumps. Frozen foods that separate easily represent a more attractive target for many customers, from restaurants to ordinary buyers. If the packaging is transparent, this adds to the attractiveness of the choice. These are all things to consider when looking for the right freezing method, as the result matters.
  • Nutritious benefit—when freezing food using an IQF processing line, there are great nutrition benefits. Freezing a notoriously difficult food such as leafy greens is effortless using IQF, and it preserves more nutrients and vitamins than other methods. That is because of IQF being designed with great processing speeds in mind. Thanks to it, the ice crystals that naturally form as part of the inevitable presence of moisture inside or on the surface of the product remain small. This plays a key role in preserving the cellular walls and keeping more nutrients locked in safely. The result is a product that, when frozen quickly, will be highly nutritious and mineral-rich.
  • Health benefits—beyond the nutritious benefits, another part that goes into creating a high-quality frozen product is the contribution it has to a person's health. Therefore, proper processing equipment is needed. Equipment that is hygienic by design will always outperform the rest. For instance, Octofrost has unique, not-seen-anywhere-else patented bedplates that supply industry-leading food safety guarantees. The OctoFrost bedplates can be easily and simply removed during processing, without pausing the complete process. Thanks to this attribute, the processing line is always kept in its best shape, without it affecting food processing.

Waste reduction

On the other side of quality stands food waste. Having a prime requirement for an acceptable quality of frozen products means refusing anything that comes short of it. Fortunately, with IQF technology, it’s possible to reduce waste considerably. It’s possible to avoid the formation of clumps, as food can now be frozen individuallyThe right frozen food machinery will also have added controls in place to ensure efficiency is kept at a high point. That means having options that reduce fan speed to match the properties of each type of product.

Fast-frozen food creation helps fight off global food waste and contributes to a more sustainable future. It can flourish in areas with an overabundance of raw material, and help minimize waste in the supply chain when transporting the products to other parts of the world.

High yield

When looking to produce premium products, taking advantage of IQF’s ability to keep nutrients in the food can only happen when processing speed is kept high. That means that ensuring high yield is easier, as the food passes quickly through the freezing line, where it is blanched/cooked, chilled, and finally frozen. Planning to work with multiple products at the same time? It’s possible!

Modern freezing companies allow you to install multiple in-feed lines for your machinery, letting you freeze multiple batches of various products, to either mix later or keep separated the entire time. Parallel freezing can help you save costs even further.

Investing in IQF might just be the step that helps your business excel and get to the next level. IQF isn’t a miracle solution, but in the correct context, it can provide benefits that other freezing solutions cannot. Add freezing equipment to your processing line or buy a specialized processing line from one of the big manufacturers, to take full advantage of compatibility and intentioned design.