IQF, an acronym that stands for Individual Quick Freezing, is a freezing method that has taken the world by storm for the last couple of decades. It is an innovative, practical, and highly effective way of creating premium-grade frozen products, with minimal loss in resources and great upkeep. Naturally, this progress has not left cheese behind—one of the most widely consumed dairy products across the globe.
Frozen cheese products have been historically some of the most favored and useful for trading, and this approach brings it to newer, ever-distant markets. Here’s how:
When using IQF to freeze a product, it will typically last longer and hold better than most other types of freezing. That is all because of the ice crystal formation process. Typical methods of bulk freezing all fall prey to large ice crystal formation, which is what happens when moisture, that is both inside and outside of the product, freezes.
The formation of such crystals can’t be avoided and they’re typically large enough to break cellular walls. Once those cellular walls break, whatever lies within the cells forming the product will spill out and that causes the product to spoil sooner.
Importantly, IQF cheese doesn’t suffer from this drawback. During the freezing process, IQF has one primary goal: speed. The process happens extremely fast, and it always prioritizes speed to lock in all the nutrients. As a side effect, the quick processing time prevents large ice crystal formation. These crystals then lack the diameter to break the cellular walls.
As a direct consequence, most IQF products are not only better looking, tasting, and have a better texture, but they’re also going to stay nearly fresh, for much longer when frozen.
Ease of use
Frozen food production is a universally useful business. You can resell your frozen cheese directly to the consumer, sell it to stores, ship it across the seas or hand it off to restaurants. Wherever you choose to position yourself in the supply chain, one thing is true: the easier you make it for your buyers to use your product, the more they will want to use it.
And that’s where IQF frozen cheese can shine through. Unlike most frozen productions, IQF takes great care to separate the individual pieces of the product. That way you can freeze everything from blueberries to rice and cheese, without the pieces themselves sticking together.
While the approaches differ from company to company, Octofrost’s cheese processing machinery can serve as a perfect example. There, the cheese is frozen through strong airflows. It blows the frigid air from two opposite sides and creates an environment where the individual pieces can’t stick together.
The result is equally simple to use for home cooking, as it is for large-scale operations, as both unfreezing and taking as much as you need becomes effectively effortless. Expand your production by having more potential clients everywhere!
In keeping with the earlier example, another amazing benefit of IQF processing and Octofrost’s equipment for processing cheese is the prominent level of hygiene that it comes with. Given that production is fairly involved, at every step of the way, an important level of cleanliness needs to be ensured. That can only be done with proper equipment design, as well as production necessities. With dairy products, hygiene is especially important and fortunately, there are already solutions in place.
Octofrost has patented bedplate technology that is currently ahead of industry hygiene regulations. Keep ahead of the game by investing smartly, and you will save money on costly upgrades down the line. The bedplate technology differentiates strongly from typical industry belts, as it can be easily taken out for cleaning and replaced with a new one. That makes hygiene far easier, as rinsing a few bedplates is simpler than cleaning out an industrial belt thoroughly.
This approach comes with the added advantage that it’s possible to ensure an elevated level of cleanliness is kept, without ever stopping production. By taking out the current bedplate and replacing it with a new one, things can continue functioning as normal, while good hygiene is ensured.
A final benefit of creating premium-grade IQF cheese lies in its highly nutrient-rich and healthy appeal. As previously mentioned, the formation of large ice crystals during freezing is prevented, so that the product will remain well frozen for much longer. That also means that fewer nutrients will be lost as time goes on.
That has an amazing benefit when coupled with a quick collection and freezing period. Namely, if production is kept at a remarkably high pace, a substantial number of vitamins, minerals, and other useful substances will be locked in and kept frozen for the entire duration. That makes IQF cheese very nutritious compared to the result of other types of freezing, therefore creating premium value for your customers.
As its taste, texture, color, and shape suffer minimal changes, aside from making the individual cheese pieces smaller, it can be the perfect way to create a healthy, nutrient-rich product.
Efficient and high-performance machinery
Despite the high product quality, costs can be kept low while yield can always be improved. Efficiency measures such as fan speed change, water recirculation, and even cool airflow recirculation all supply an ideal avenue for cost reduction.
Even though the processing speeds are big, so is the yield, as with many infeed options, you’re able to tailor your freezing process to whatever capacity you need. Octofrost’s freezer features a capacity of up to 15 000 kg/hour. All you need is a sufficiently large amount of cheese.
Minimal dehydration is achieved thanks to quick processing speeds and effective fluidization. That avoids the “browning” effect, as the crust freezes quickly.
Big or small, cheddar or Swiss, start your frozen cheese enterprise today or upgrade it to IQF and you’ll benefit from all the earlier benefits, and more!