Frozen food has earned a negative reputation over the years for being highly processed and less nutritious than fresh food. You may be surprised to learn that this is far from the truth. Frozen food can be just as healthy, if not healthier, than its fresh counterpart: it all depends on how quickly and efficiently the food has been frozen and also on how professionally the supply chain has been managed before that frozen food reaches our kitchens.
Freezing food to avoid spoilage is a practice that has been popular since 3000 BC when the ancient Chinese used ice cellars to preserve food through the cold winter months. Also the ancient Romans used to store food in compressed snow in insulated cellars. Even if technology has made a remarkable progress over the centuries, the basic principles behind this method remain the same: by lowering the temperature of the food to a degree where germs and bacteria are unable to thrive we can prolong its life while keeping the nutrients intact.
In the food industry, technological progress is happening at such high speed that when it comes to mechanical freezing even the once popular Cold Store freezing, with its slow freezing time and the consequent formation of big ice crystals that stress the membrane and the delicate structure of the product, is now rather obsolete and it has been replaced by IQF. Individual Quick Freezing is the most recent development in freezing technology: this high-tech, intelligent system relies on components, materials and operating systems that provide the best food safety, low maintenance and energy efficiency. In a few words, the advantage of IQF freezers is their capacity to quickly and separately freeze small, flat, unpackaged food products without creating large ice crystals that damage the cells of the product. The high quality achieved by using IQF pairs well with the benefit for the final customers to defrost the exact amount of food they need for their meals thus reducing waste.
As the frozen food market is experiencing a rapid expansion, new freezing methods supported by innovative technologies are being trialed to better control the crystallization process and to accelerate the freezing rate: high pressure freezing, ultrasound assisted freezing and radio-frequency assisted freezing are some of them.