Tropical fruit processors from South East Asia to South America are invested in supplying superior, delicious and economical frozen products. Changes in eating habits in Europe have increased consumption and in turn the demand of frozen tropical fruit. Research has predicted a 5.32% annual growth in the global frozen fruit market, and the number for the growth of tropical fruits is will likely be even higher.
While demand has increased, the need for delivering quality products has too. How is premium IQF tropical fruit created? OctoFrost is a world-renowned company that creates processing equipment. The OctoFrost fruit processing experts explain the mechanism and steps that ensure the quality of the IQF tropical fruit.
Prior to processing, it is vital that the maturity and ripeness of a fruit and its brix level are controlled. Next, the best cutting and slicing equipment needs to be carefully selected Then, the thermal treatment processes can begin, starting with the chilling stage and then continuing with the IQF freezing stage.
Quick and Efficient Chilling
Prior to IQF freezing, the infeed temperature of the tropical fruit needs to be lowered. This ensures higher production capacity in the IQF tunnel as well as increasing product separation and avoiding lump formation of tropical fruits. This is achieved through the chilling process using the OctoFrostTM IF Chiller, which reduces the product’s core temperature to 5°C. This ensures a quick crust-freeze during the first IQF Freezing stage. This is vital to product separation, especially with sticky fruits such as mango, pineapple, and dragon fruit. The product separation is during the freezing process allows the final product to look more natural and be lump-free.
The OctoFrost impingement flash (IF) technology, combined with the rainshower system, makes for quick and efficient chilling. The product is naturally surrounded by insulating layers of air. These layers are broken up by the rainshower through the use of impingement. This allows for quick chilling by ensuring swift and meticulous heat transfer to the product. Processors are able to produce premium IQF products through the use of these contemporary and efficient solutions.
No Lump Formation During IQF Freezing
Some products have more difficult consistencies, such as diced mango which is sticky, wet and high-brix. These products need to be frozen using more innovative IQF tunnels in order to overcome these difficulties and still produce quality frozen product. The OctoFrost IQF technology has elements that were specifically designed to overcome these challenges and is therefore a valuable machine for the global fruit processing industry.
One of these features is the fully adjustable airflow inside the OctoFrost IQF tunnel. The speed of the fan can be adjusted to match the needs of specific zones inside of the tunnel so that, for example, the quick crust-freezing stage, which requires a strong airflow in the first freezing zone, can achieve good product separation. The OctoFrostTM bedplates are exchangeable and create an asymmetric movement which combines with optimal airflow to freeze the product quickly and individually. The product separation preserves the natural appearance, texture, and shape of the produce. This technology also simplifies the cleaning process between product batches.