WHY DO IQF PASTA PROCESSORS CHOOSE OCTOFROST
Pasta products have a big share on the food market and among various variables which affect consumer’s behavior, awareness and availability of the product are the two main important aspects which have a strong effect on the popularity and sale of pasta products.
Since early 2000’s, many new products launched with convenient and easy to cook options, which encouraged manufacturers to introduce chilled, fresh and dry pasta products with diverse flavors. Manufacturers are producing options such as organic, gluten-free, fortified and enriched pasta, while exploring other grains to diversify their offerings. This demand for innovative products such as alternative grain pasta, has contributed to value sales performance.
Along with an increasing volume of options came the need for different high standard methods to preserve and protect the pasta product, since today’s consumer is more sophisticated and has higher expectations.
Dried pasta is one product variety that is easy to store and preserve because it is usually produced in large amounts, in a factory, and has a longer shelf life. When it comes to fresh and cooked pasta though, this is usually locally made with fresh ingredients, in which case consideration is given to freezing method in order to maintain the products’ shape, color and volume.
Pasta products can be challenging during freezing process due to their fragile texture and sometimes sticky surfaces, however IQF freezing technologies have overcome these difficulties. Individually Quick Freezing or IQF is the process of quickly freezing pasta shapes, while maintaining each piece separate tremendous flexibility is allowed. Nearly any shape can be made as IQF pasta.
Pasta may be frozen from a raw state, partially-cooked (blanched) or fully-cooked. Quality consistency is one of the biggest benefits of IQF pasta. Meticulous quality control and advanced quick- freezing systems ensure the same texture, color, volume and fresh homemade taste of the product.
The demand for innovative products results in a demand for innovative technologies when freezing IQF pasta, and a careful consideration should be given when choosing the right IQF technology to freeze pasta products. OctoFrost™ is the most advanced and innovative IQF technology on the market at the moment and to maintain the integrity of the pasta during freezing, unlike other freezers, OctoFrost™ is equipped with adjustable fluidization in the independently controlled freezing zones. This is important because pasta products with a starch-rich surface are very sticky, forming lumps during freezing in traditional IQF belt freezers. OctoFrost™ however, insures a perfect separation due to the 3 different types of fluidization: circulating, bubbling and fixed, which can be achieved by optimal adjusting of different parameters based on the needs of each type of product. The circulated fluidization (fully fluidization) also contributes to the long production hours as products don’t stick (while also no belt marks are left on the product) and the bed stays clean which is beneficial for long freezing shifts and reliable food safety.
An additional and important advantage mentioned by OctoFrost™ owners is that the freezer offers the possibility of a “buffering time” when for any reason the line after the freezer should be slowed down. In other words, the speed of product advancement can be slowed down. In addition to this, the bed plate can even perform the backwards movement which is extremely important for the producers as it avoids the over drying of the products.
Asside from keeping the product’s shape intact, using OctoFrost IQF technology when freezing pasta products, gives better control over freezing quality, better handling of the product and reduce the risk of microbiological contamination.
Nowadays the consumer is becoming more sophisticated and demanding, in terms of product variety and nutritional value, therefore whole grain pasta and fresh frozen pasta is on the rise while freezing technologies such as OctoFrost IQF follow the demand trends and continue to respond to the new preservation necessities.