Purchasing frozen foods provides the consumer with a way to stock up on mealtime staples such as vegetables, meat, fish, and even bread items. Freezing food is nothing new — even before refrigeration technology came on the scene, those in cold climates learned they could make their food last far longer by preserving it in ice. As technology advanced, a variety of food packaging types have evolved, each with its own form of convenience. Individually quick-frozen technology (IQF) brings even more convenience to the table. Whether you’re a food packaging consultant, a supermarket manager, or a consumer, here’s what you need to know about IQP:
What It Is
Traditional frozen food technology involved freezing all contents of the package at the same time. For instance, a package of corn, broccoli, peas, chicken pieces, and other commonly frozen items was all frozen together in one lump. IQF, on the other hand, freezes everything separately. Each piece of corn, blueberry, pea, etc., for instance, is frozen individually with this method. Not only does this benefit the consumer because they can easily remove the portion of the food from the package they need at any given time, but it also increases speed on the packaging line, saving food processing businesses significant sums of money.
How It Works
Traditional freezing methods result in a residue of ice crystals being left on the product, and these crystals have the potential to seriously diminish the quality of the food. Ice crystals affect food on a cellular level, causing compromises in texture, taste, and moisture content. IQF technology, on the other hand, uses a freezing process known as blast freezing, which means that the product is frozen so quickly that damaging ice crystals don’t have time to form. Blast freezing also results in a safer product because harmful bacteria have very little time to form and multiply using this method.
Common Foods Frozen Using IQF
Theoretically, any type of food product can be successfully frozen using IQF. The most common food products frozen with this technology are vegetables such as peas and corn, small fruits such as blueberries, plums, raspberries, and strawberries, shellfish, and both red and white meats such as poultry, pork, and beef.
Getting Started With IQF Technology
IQF is a very specialized technology that isn’t widely available through a variety of equipment providers. The services of a skilled packaging professional can help craft a customized solution for your packaging needs. At The Greater Goods, we specialize in providing young businesses with what they need to thrive.
Please feel free to reach out to our food packaging consultant to further explore your options with IQF technology.