The demand for IQF spinach and herbs has been increasing steadily over the past few years. The convenience of using the exact amount needed of ready-to-use, chopped leafy products which don’t need to be thawed, is appealing to both end-consumers as to restaurants, catering companies and ready-meals producers.
"We have listened to this market trend and have offered the first IQF Processing Line dedicated to IQF spinach and similar products for its customers in China," says Svetlana Plotean, marketing manager for OctoFrost.
"This OctoFrost IQF Processing Line is the first of its kind and is to be installed by the end of summer, 2019. OctoFrost is emphasizing that each of the main stages of the IQF spinach processing must be done in the optimal way in order to get a premium IQF product: blanching, chilling, dewatering and IQF freezing."
"The line consists of an OctoFrost IF Blancher, IF Chiller, a Rotating Tedder and an IQF freezer. When it comes to blanching stage - the accurate temperature control within 0.5°C in the OctoFrost IF Blancher avoids over-blanching of the delicate spinach. The IF Blancher also uses a combination of steam and a unique rain shower system."
"During the chilling stage, the ice-cold water that gently falls over the product in the OctoFrost IF Chiller immediately stops the blanching process, preserving the natural green color and vitamins of the spinach."
"When it comes to dewatering, traditionally it is done by two methods: pressing the products under a spring-loaded cylinder or by rotation in a centrifuge. Using either of these two methods often requires products to be somehow loosened up before freezing – which is the reason why OctoFrost included a Rotating Tedder which aims to achieve good product separation."
"The last machine in the IQF Line is an OctoFrost IQF Freezer which is widely recognized on the market of IQF processing. One of the key features of this tunnel is the adjustable speed of the OctoFrost™ fans which creates the optimal aerodynamics avoiding the overblow of light products into the coil. The fans only need to run at 30% out of the total capacity for leafy products which translates in significant energy efficiency and high product quality."
"This IQF Spinach Processing Line marks an unavoidable expansion of this segment which reflects a general shift in the consumers’ habits and preferences towards more convenient and easy-to-use products." Plotean concludes.