Method for improving the quality of frozen foods by assisting the freezing process and reducing the size of the ice crystals

Funding: Research for the benefit of SME associations, 7th EU-Framework Porgramme
Project Duration: 1.10.2008 – 30.9.2010
Project Manager: Claudia Krines
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Frozen food has become an integral part of today's human diet. Although the frozen food market is growing substantially, the products still suffer from an image problem: consumers expect them to have less flavour, inferior texture and a low nutritive value. It is indeed a fact that the freezing process can cause irreversible chemical and physical changes which lead to a decrease in food quality. Quality losses in the freezing process are mainly caused by inhomogeneous development of ice crystals, large crystal sizes and the related occurrence of undesirable water migration, mass transfer and cell rupture. Within the MINICRYSTAL project, an ultrasonic system is used to control the characteristics and arrangement of ice crystals. By this means, the partners strive for an obvious quality improvement.

During the two-year project, equipment will be developed which is needed to improve the freezing system of conventional deep freezers. ttz Bremerhaven is co-ordinating the research activities of nine partners with the support of IRIS, a Spanish research institute, and will be responsible for the testing of the equipment and its applications in different industrial environments.