Prawns on ice

Superchilling has positive impacts on food preservation and energy consumption

What is superchilling and how can it help?

Superchilling technologies, use a technique of cooling a product down to a temperature at which the product starts to freeze, generally around –1.5°C to–2°C, and then storing it at that temperature. At this range some of the product is ice and some contains liquid water – this is called the aqueous phase. The process can be achieved using standard blast chillers.

This partial freezing dramatically reduces the rate of appearance of microbiological and chemical spoilage defects and allows a long shelf-life to be achieved compared to the conventionally chilled product (>3°C to 8°C), without affecting sensory attributes. Additionally, there is an additional benefit in the form of a reduction in energy use.

Superchilling helps reduce water and electricity use by 20%

Case in point: Superchilling prawns

The team at Lyons Seafood were looking to increase efficiency and saw superchilling as key to helping with this.

Lesley Galpin, Head of Technical at Lyons Seafoods, said:

We introduced superchilling on one of our cooked prawn products as an experiment after we saw the work done by Campden BRI. We were looking for ways to increase our efficiency, and to offer our customers an increased minimum life on receipt (MLOR). Our results were fantastic. Not only did we increase MLOR, but our water and energy use fell by about twenty percent.”

The benefits of superchilling became clear for Lyons Seafoods when Christmas – usually the busiest period for the company – came around.

The day-to-day impact of superchilling was shown by our experience last Christmas. Like most FMCG manufacturers, Christmas is usually a stressful time with increased volumes. Last Christmas felt like we had lower volumes due to the process being much more streamlined, with less stopping and starting. To our surprise, when we looked at the figures, we had actually produced more than usual. Superchilling allows us to supply from a buffer stock, and so makes production more predictable and efficient.”

Additional benefits of superchilling for Lyons Seafoods include:

  • Saving time and resources that can be invested to, for example, introduce new lines
  • Ability to cook bigger batches less often to:
    • Decrease product waste with fewer production starts and stops throughout the week
    • Reduce the line running times reducing the labour requirement
    • Increase cooking yield
    • Reduce hygiene costs due to less production line usage
  • Decreasing effluent usage (approx. 20%)
  • Saving time and money with fewer batches which results in fewer EOL (end of life) sampling and microbiological analysis
  • Yielding improved EOL microbiology results, in terms of total viable counts (TVCs)

In the process of superchilling it is important to achieve swift freezing in order to get the ice fraction just right, due the textural and structural damage ice crystals can incur. We helped Lyons Seafoods ensure the quality of their super chilled seafood product with sensory quality analysis and microbiology testing.

Why are we best placed to help the food industry with superchilling?

With over 10 years experience helping the industry super chill their products, we’re the food and drink sector’s preferred choice for help with superchilling. This is further backed by our member-funded research that, in association with Defra, allowed our experts to deepen their understanding of how a product’s shelf-life can be extended using this technique.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you extend your product shelf-life cost effectively.

Greg Jones

About Greg Jones

Greg graduated with a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Swansea University and joined Campden BRI in 2006.

Read more...

How can we help you?

If you’d like to find out more about superchilling products, contact our support team to find out how we can help.

support@campdenbri.co.uk +44(0)1386 842000

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