Changing habits bring new challenges and considerable opportunities for food producers

How adopting innovative food processes can provide competitive advantage
Food & Pharma
5 November 2018

In the UK, we are flooded with cooking and baking programs on television1: approximately a staggering 220 hours a week! Conversely, the British spend a below-average of 5.9 hours a week in the kitchen for food preparation2. Fact is that the importance of convenient and healthy food continues to grow, along with some other notable trends…

Changes in family demography

The composition of our family structure is evolving considerably. According to the Office for National Statistics, one person households have grown with 16% from 6.6 million in 1996 to 7.7 million in 2017. The number of ‘lone parent one family’ households shows the same tendency, growing 18% from 2.3 million in 1996 to 2.7 million in 2017.

It goes without saying that these social trends and evolutions exert a substantial influence on the food market. So the question is how the food industry should respond to this? Obviously, there is no single measure that provides the answer to all of these challenges. However, it turns out that recent innovations in frozen food technology could play a key role...


Piece of cake

Let’s take a look at the example of a food company which produces cream filled cakes with fruit toppings. This company wanted to be able to supply individual slices of cake, in order to meet changing consumer demands. By deploying a customised cryogenic tunnel freezing solution based on a liquid nitrogen injection system, the company is now able to deliver accurate and clean cuts, as well as excellent portion control.

The solution also has significant commercial and operational benefits for the food producer, and also allows a higher production capacity (raised from 400 to 600 kg/hour). Furthermore, manual intervention is no longer necessary, which lowers labour costs. Cryogenic freezing also allows the company to accept next day delivery orders until 14 pm, instead of 11 am.


A dynamic market demands production flexibility

Another food company, producing vegetarian hamburger and nugget shaped products, wanted to not only increase its production rate but to be able to quickly switch between the different products on their production line.

The products (hamburgers and nuggets) were digitally modelled using special software, in order to find the optimum equipment specifications, gas usage and also ensure premium product quality. In the next stage an optimised cryogenic solution to the producer needs was installed, allowing for a wide temperature range as well as different production speeds, enabling the company to respond quickly and adequately to the constantly changing market demand.

Screenshots of Cryosoft, an Air Liquide technology application by using sophisticated digital modelling to understand how cryogenics can deliver the best product to their customer.

Cryogenic freezing

Cryogenic freezing solutions are able to address several key issues for food producers, such as the demand for high quality food, superior hygiene, better sustainability as well as increased flexibility.

And what about your company?

Air Liquide’s experts are happy to assist you with advise and help you to improve your production in any possible way.

 Contact us

1: According to a Gfk study.
These figures are based on a study in which 27,000 people from 22 countries between the ages of 15 and 60 were asked about their home cooking habits.