Innovative defrosting techniques to ensure product integrity


In response to the growing demand for rapid defrosting methods, food processing equipment manufacturers have developed innovative techniques to speed up the defrosting process while maintaining optimal product quality. Defrosting is an integral part of food processors’ ability to ensure high-quality products and optimize efficiency, and advances in defrosting technology make it more effective.

In most regions of the world, food processors have increased orders for frozen raw materials due to increasing demand. “More and more frozen products are being obtained because it is not so easy for many customers, especially in areas such as Asia or Russia, to find fresh products, so they use frozen,” explains Stephane Kulikowski, Sales Director of Provisur Technologies.

The challenge, once these processors get the frozen products, is to defrost them without the products losing their integrity. That includes a taste as fresh as possible, as well as aesthetics, maintaining hygiene and safety. And, of course, they want them to defrost quickly and steadily.

The most effective method of defrosting to maintain food quality and safety is to use drums, which can produce products in good condition that are ready for sale in supermarkets and retail establishments.

Advantages on the market over traditional defrosting:

  1. They are much faster. The concept of using vacuum cold steam to defrost products uses the direct condensation of cold steam on the product, combined with the rotation of the drum, so the process is faster than any traditional method, including radio frequency or microwave defrosting systems. The machine is at a low temperature, but all the steam energy does all the work, also known as the “physical principle”.
  2. Profitability. Yield gains are significant because the product retains its moisture and proteins. The vacuum prevents the loss of juice or water and, most importantly, maintains the complete integrity of the protein. Whatever the structure that the product has inside the protein, all the muscles and fibers will be in good shape for customers to enjoy.
  3. Food safety and cleanliness are the most important thing. When defrosting in a closed container in the drum, there is no external contamination. Vacuum slows down selected bacterial activity, which contributes to food safety. In addition, because the entire process takes less than 12 hours, the surface of the product remains for a short time between -2 °C and +4°C, which limits bacterial growth.

Investing in a Lutetia ® drum with a unique design ensures the optimization of heat transfer and, due to the double jacket concept, prevents possible contamination by thermal fluid. The double jacket allows customers to control the amount of steam that is transmitted to the product, which also determines the amount of water that will be added to the product. In the end, this is waste reduction and its organic load: the product retains its water and proteins, and most of the time, absorbs all or part of the steam.

As the global food industry continues to expand, more protein options are becoming available to more consumers with the use of defrost drums. This technology not only maintains the integrity of the products, but also thaws at a faster rate taking into account accuracy, cost-effectiveness and safety.

Provisur’s Lutetia ® product line is a world leader in defrosting technology. The two defrosting methods, single or double jacketed drums, which use steam-vacuum and chambers that use cold convection, are available in a variety of sizes and configurations, and can lead to performance improvements of up to 6% with defrosting times that can be up to four times faster than traditional methods.