Browsing Food Chemistry & Technology by Subject "Ready meals"
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Freeze-chilling of ready-to-eat meal componentsFreeze-chilling of food consists of freezing and frozen storage followed by thawing and then retailing at chill storage temperatures. It offers logistic, transportation and storage advantages to food manufacturers. Freeze-chilling has particular application to ready-meals and their components. Mashed potato (three cultivars), steamed carrots, steamed green beans and beef lasagne were found suitable for freeze-chilling and their quality and sensory properties compared favourably with their frozen, chilled and fresh counterparts. Modified atmosphere packaging was combined with freeze-chilling but it had little impact on shelflife extension for the product range with the outcome similar to that for samples packed in air. Tests on the freeze-chilling of white sauces showed the importance of using freeze-thaw stable starches. Best-practice thawing procedures were established and the importance of stacking configurations for outer boxes (each with a number of lasagne ready-meals) was highlighted in the case of the commercial tempering unit. Trials on the re-freezing of freeze-chilled products indicated that re-freezing is an option provided the normal storage protocols for frozen and chilled foods are observed.
Upgrading the cold chain for consumer food productsThe prepared consumer foods sector in Ireland is undergoing sustained dynamic growth. Products that are distributed chilled or frozen require a cold chain and there is potential to increase product quality by optimising the cold chain. This potential prompted the current study.