Freezing is one of the oldest and most widely used methods of food preservation, which allows preservation of taste, texture, and nutritional value in foods better than any other method. The freezing process is a combination of the beneficial effects of low temperatures at which microorganisms cannot grow, chemical reactions are reduced, and cellular metabolic reactions are delayed.
Freezing preservation retains the quality of agricultural products over long storage periods. As a method of long-term preservation for fruits and vegetables, freezing is generally regarded as superior to canning and dehydration, with respect to retention in sensory attributes and nutritive properties. The safety and nutrition quality of frozen products are emphasized when high quality raw materials are used, good manufacturing practices are employed in the preservation process, and the products are kept in accordance with specified temperatures.
Freezing has been successfully employed for the long-term preservation of many foods, providing a significantly extended shelf life. The process involves lowering the product temperature generally to -18 °C or below. The physical state of food material is changed when energy is removed by cooling below freezing temperature. The extreme cold simply retards the growth of microorganisms and slows down the chemical changes that affect quality or cause food to spoil.
Competing with new technologies of minimal processing of foods, industrial freezing is the most satisfactory method for preserving quality during long storage periods. When compared in terms of energy use, cost, and product quality, freezing requires the shortest processing time. Any other conventional method of preservation focused on fruits and vegetables, including dehydration and canning, requires less energy when compared with energy consumption in the freezing process and storage. However, when the overall cost is estimated, freezing costs can be kept as low (or lower) as any other method of food preservation.
The application of freezing preservation is favorable with several main considerations. From a technical point of view, the freezing process is one of the most convenient and easiest of food preservation methods, compared with other commercial preservation techniques. The availability of different types of equipment for several different food products results in a flexible process in which degradation of initial food quality is minimal with proper application procedures. As mentioned earlier, the high capital investment of the freezing industry usually plays an important role in terms of economic feasibility of the process in developing countries. As for cost distribution, the freezing process and storage in terms of energy consumption constitute approximately 10 percent of the total cost. Depending on the government regulations, especially in developing countries, energy cost for producers can be subsidized by means of lowering the unit price or reducing the tax percentage in order to enhance production. Therefore, in determining the economical convenience of the process, the cost related to energy consumption should be considered.
Today in modern society, frozen fruits and vegetables constitute a large and important food group among other frozen food products. The historical development of commercial freezing systems designed for special food commodities helped shape the frozen food market. Technological innovations as early as 1869 led to the commercial development and marketing of some frozen foods. Early products saw limited distribution through retail establishments due to insufficient supply of mechanical refrigeration. Retail distribution of frozen foods gained importance with the development of commercially frozen vegetables in 1929.
The frozen vegetable industry mostly grew after the development of scientific methods for blanching and processing in the 1940s. Only after the achievement of success in stopping enzymatic degradation, did frozen vegetables gain a strong retail and institutional appeal. Today, market studies indicate that considering overall consumption of frozen foods, frozen vegetables constitute a very significant proportion of world frozen-food categories (excluding ice cream) in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the USA.
Commercialization history of frozen fruits is older than frozen vegetables. The commercial freezing of small fruits and berries began in the eastern part of the U.S. in about 1905. The main advantage of freezing preservation of fruits is the extended usage of frozen fruits during off-season. Additionally, frozen fruits can be transported to remote markets that could not be accessed with fresh fruit. Also, freezing preservation makes year-round further processing of fruit products possible, such as jams, juice, and syrups from frozen whole fruit, slices, or pulps. In summary, the preservation of fruits by freezing has clearly become one the most important preservation methods.
The frozen food industry is highly based in modern science and technology. Starting with the first historical development in freezing preservation of foods, today, a combination of several factors influences the commercialization and usage of freezing technology. The future growth of frozen foods will mostly be affected by economical and technological factors. Growth in population, personal incomes, relative cost of other forms of foods, changes in tastes and preferences, and technological advances in freezing methods are some of the factors concerned with the future of freezing technology.
Population growth and increasing demand for food has generated the need for commercial production of food commodities in large-scale operations. Thus, availability of proper equipment suitable for continuous processing would be valuable for freezing preservation methods. In addition, depending on personal incomes, relative cost of frozen products is one of the most important of economical factors. Producing the highest quality at the lowest cost possible is highly dependent on the technology used. As a result, developments in freezing technology in recent years have mostly been characterized by the improvements in mechanical handling and process control to increase freezing rate and reduce cost.
Today an increasing demand for frozen foods already exits and further expansion of the industry is primarily dependent on the ability of food processors to develop higher qualities in both process techniques and products. Improvements can only be achieved by focusing on new technologies and investigating poorly understood factors that influence the quality of frozen food products. Improvements in new and convenient forms of foods, as well as more information on relative cost and nutritive values of frozen foods, will contribute toward continued growth of the industry.
For more information, please Chat with us Ask The Expert.
Your App link Successfully Send!!
Your App link Not Successfully Send!!