FREEZING EDAMAME – THE RISING STAR OF THE ASIAN MARKET
One of the “hottest hit” on the vegetable market right now, in particular in the frozen sector is edamame. Edamame (or soya beans) is the only vegetable which has almost all the nutritious qualities and health benefits you can get from eating meat, and right now it is seen as the new super-food on the food market.
Soy bean is known to the Asian public for generations, and these have always been used in food manufacturing as a better, healthier alternative to meat or preferred as a protein source by vegetarians. Nevertheless, the increasing interest towards edamame, which is immature soybeans, seems to be quite new and booming.
Edamame has an immense popularity on the Asian market, especially in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, but the popularity and demand for this bean is growing faster and faster in other parts of the world as well, mostly in the West.
SUSHI BRINGS EDAMAME TO THE WEST
Many consumers are becoming more health-conscious and the convenience of frozen fruits and vegetables is an appealing alternative for healthy choices. This trend has a big contribution to the popularity of edamame. Consumers use this young soybean as an appetizer, a snack or adding it to salads, even though the trend came along together with sushi consumption. Since the edamame is gaining attention from the consumer’s side, particularly in frozen state, producers are trying to keep up with the demand by providing high quality edamame beans.
In order to achieve premium quality IQF edamame beans, there are some important steps to follow, but it all boils down to the same idea: performant processing equipment.
THE RIGHT PRE-TREATMENT ON THE VEGETABLE PROCESSING LINES
Edamame is a product with a hard and thick pod, which requires a longer blanching time. In order to get the best results it is highly recommended to use a performant section blancher that is able to keep a good temperature control. The pre-processing infeed temperature should be the same as the temperature in the outfeed before starting the freezing. It is also important to mention that for the chilling process of edamame, glycol is recommended as refrigerant in order to avoid the risks associated with having ammonia inside the production zone.
HIGH YIELD AND LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION IS CRUCIAL WHEN FREEZING EDAMAME
For a good freezing result, IQF edamame processors should use a high technology freezing equipment that makes it possible not only to obtain premium IQF edamame but also to increase production yield. With OctoFrost IQF tunnel freezer, the production yield is higher due to the minimum dehydration inside the OctoFrost while the energy consumption is lower by 30%.
KNOWLEDGEABLE AND DEMANDING CONSUMERS ARE SETTING THE COURSE
The consumption boom of edamame, we are lately experiencing on the frozen food market, seems to be never ending, with new products, new super-foods and new technologies. Right now the IQF edamame success on the Asian market is inspiring many other markets to produce and process this wonder bean. We are curious to see how big this success will become and how fast it will grow. Processors might encounter some challenges on the way since consumers are becoming more aware of what they eat, the quality they expect, as well as being overall more knowledgeable and informed about their choices. Nevertheless, OctoFrost is here to give a hand and advise you.