Air Products has launched a ‘top injection’ of its liquid nitrogen refrigerant, Freshline LIN-IS, for sensitive products like dough.
It claims vaporising liquid nitrogen over the top of foods being processed can create a ‘soft chill’ and reduce air bubbles in foam-sensitive products such as creamy sauces.
Ann Callens, Food, Cryo and Water Segment manager Europe, Air Products, told FoodProductionDaily the technology improves temperature control for food processors.
“We launched the top injection version of LIN-IS because our existing technology did not provide optimal results for more sophisticated products,” she said.
“Prior to this, manufacturers would chill the food mixture in a chilling room before the forming process, which meant extra handling and longer chilling times, and a more costly process. Or, they would use ice or ice water, which causes a reduction in the quality of food.
“We are currently working with global companies in the cheese, cookie, and prepared meal industry but we cannot name them at this stage.”
Liquid nitrogen has long been used to control the temperature of products, such as meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, dairy and sauces for ready meals, while they are being processed.
It can stop food from over-heating while it is being mixed, which could affect its appearance and quality; minimising moisture loss and limiting microbial growth.
2014 product launch
Liquid nitrogen is usually injected into the bottom of the food mix at intervals to keep it cool and its temperature is regulated.
According to Callens, Air Products will launch technology for producing frozen sauce portions at high production rates and one for freezing IQF (individually quick frozen) foods in 2014.
“In the last few years we have seen a tendency in new product development to make more sophisticated and high quality formed products,” she added.
“Consumer tastes are changing For example, people prefer a smooth and creamy cookie filling instead of a hard and stiff biscuit and goat’s cheese that is soft but not falling apart in water and crumbs.
“Liquid Nitrogen injection is not dangerous. It is an inert and non-toxic product. 70% of the air we breathe consists of nitrogen. It is a ‘natural’ product.”
Air Products is exhibiting at CFIA, from February 11-13, in France and Foodex from March 24-26, in the UK.