IQF RICE – CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The consumption of IQF rice is strongly determined by the fast growing frozen ready meals market, which is expected to grow significantly during 2017 and 2022.
The market is growing and there are big opportunities ahead of IQF rice processors, with specialty rice varieties such as wholegrain, wild rice and black rice that have become increasingly popular due to a growing trend in healthier meals. Though the opportunities which are there to grasp, freezing IQF rice is not an easy task for food processors. The characteristics of the product are always dependent on the variety and generally rice is described as being long-, medium- or short-grained.
Stickiness and how to deal with it
The most common and important challenge when it comes to processing rice is the products’ sticky texture. The degree of stickiness always depends on a number of factors such as rice variety, blanching time, length of washing process, drying process and holding time after blancher to absorb moisture.
Sticky products like rice can make it quite a challenge for food processors to keep a reliable food safety in the IQF freezer without compromising the productivity. This is why, an easy-to-clean equipment is very important for rice processors.
A typical pretreatment for IQF rice would be cooking followed by multiple washings for decreasing the amount of starch before freezing. Processors claim that more washing leads to less stickiness and therefore to better product separation.
As previously mentioned, a reliable equipment is very important for rice processors. The OctoFrost™ freezer is an optimal freezer for IQF rice due to several specific technical features which will help you achieve good product separation and natural appearance as well as the highest food safety standards.
The OctoFrost™ fans which are equipped with frequency controllers permit the optimal adjustment of the airflow and air pressure which avoids overblow of rice, but ensures good separation. The vibrator and pulsator used in the first freezing zone for quick crust freezing result in no lump or block formation of the IQF rice. When it comes to food safety, the OctoFrost™ freezer has a number of important food safety features, a very important aspect when freezing sticky rice: free-standing design, no joints, easy access for cleaning, removable bedplates and cleanable design.
The market of IQF rice is growing and the only way to keep up with the demand by offering premium products to nowadays much sophisticated customers, is to look at your products specifications and choose the best equipment for your production line. Innovative technology is the key to succeed in the food processing industry and we are here to help you make the wisest choice for your business.