How can cryogenic cooling cut waste in soup and sauce manufacturing?

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Cooling soups, sauces and ready meals is a challenge for many food manufacturers. Under an Innovate UK research project into cryogenic cooling, we are uncovering opportunities to improve the cooling of various food products including soups and sauces. Research is being undertaken at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing and combines fast heating, Steam Infusion, with fast cryogenic cooling. Cooling is a challenge shared by many food manufacturers and is often the bottleneck in cold fill operations. Cryogenic cooling seeks to alleviate these challenges by injecting liquid nitrogen directly into a product. With liquid nitrogen at a temperature close to -190 degrees C, it quickly cools the product before the nitrogen gas is exhausted off to the atmosphere.

Can cryogenic cooling reduce waste?

Cryogenic cooling can improve yields and reduce waste compared to traditional cooling processes, particularly for high value, multi changeover products. The cryogenic cooling system minimises losses of product because of the unrestricted bore, fast cooling and reduced pipework. Unlike plate and scrape surface heat exchangers, food product doesn't stick to the walls creating waste and inhibiting cooling potential.

Can cryogenic cooling reduce cleaning?

Traditional forms of cooling such as plate packs have various challenges to cleaning, because of the dead zones inherent in their design. Fibrous build up can occur in the pipework if turbulent flow conditions aren't achieved. The unrestricted bore in the cryogenic cooling simplifies cleaning by preventing build-up and reducing wastage.

Where can I see cryogenic cooling working?

Food manufacturers can test cooking and cooling their products at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, in Holbeach. Here OAL are leading an Innovate UK research project into the system with BOC, University of Lincoln and Iceland Manufacturing.

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InsightsJake Norman