As the consumption of fresh avocados started rising, so did the popularity of Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) avocados. When it comes to fresh, but over-ripe of odd-sized avocados however, these can often be rejected. This could result in a big waste for both wholesale and consumers, says Kerry Hultin, marketing manager for OctoFrost. “The shelf life for fresh avocados is only about one or two days. There’s a high chance that avocados already reach the over-ripe stage or even have gone bad the day of purchase. The alternative for consumers is to buy under-ripe avocados at a high price and let it ripen at home. Knowing when an avocado is ripe for consumption is tricky though, and very often we end up finding an unappetizing discolored fruit with flavor having changed already.”
In comparison to fresh avocados, the shelf life of IQF frozen avocados is significantly longer: “IQF frozen avocado is frozen at its peak of ripeness, then packed and sold in consumer bags or boxes. As a result the shelf life for IQF avocados is over six months! With OctoFrost’s IQF technology, it is possible to freeze just-right-to-eat avocados after harvesting. This ensures its natural appearance, texture, smell, and nutrients are preserved. Therefore, consumers get to enjoy a quality fruit that’s full of flavor,” Kerry explains. “IQF avocados are often cut and frozen in halves, diced, or sliced. It is convenient to pick the needed amount before thawing. This way we avoid food waste and especially bacteria growth which is caused by repeatedly thawing and freezing food that cannot be finished at once.”
Kerry feels that the pre-cooling of the produce is one the most important aspects in the process: “Low product temperature of the avocados is essential before cutting, because it leads to a better product appearance. OctoFrost™ Chillers contains ice-cold water, which cools the core temperature of avocados to less than 5°C for an even cut and effective IQF freezing. Depending on the yearly production rate, OctoFrost™ can provide solutions for both small and large productions.”
After the pre-chilling, the actual freezing process begins. “OctoFrost offers unique features to maintain a good product separation and its characteristics without any damages, for avocado halves and even sticky dices or slices. The cost per kg is usually lower with our new technology, and the yield is higher than other technologies on the market. Processors in the Americas, Africa, and Asia have already experienced the benefits of these features that contribute to high yield and food safety!” Kerry concludes.