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Chilled Food

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 Production of chilled convenience food
Chilling has long been one way of keeping food fresh. Chilling helps to suppress the growth of micro-organisms and delays biochemical conversions in food.

A continuous chilling chain (documented) from production through to the end user also makes it possible to market complex and pre-prepared products whose shelf life ranges between a few days and 3 weeks. The end user purchases these products in small portions, normally for consumption within a few days.

The products are marketed as fresh food. The portions are geared towards the needs of small households or single persons. Since the products only have to be heated, very short preparation times are possible. This satisfies customers' needs for convenience.

Sales of chilled convenience foods have doubled several times within the past few years.

Production of chilled convenience food

The production method is similar to that for frozen food. Immediately following harvesting, the raw materials are sorted, washed, cut up if necessary. Unlike frozen meals, fermentation must take place in this case.

Due to the variety of the products to be manufactured, the systems must be extremely flexible. The quality of the products depends to a very large extent on exact compliance with the recipes, temperatures and process times. According to the laws and standards relating to batch retracing, it is very important to record both the goods flows and the process parameters of the individual batches.

The individual product ingredients are prepared separately and then combined to form the required product. Packing and chilling are very important factors as regards the storage life of the products.

Responsibility here is often passed to the retail outlet. Commercial companies must have a highly developed HACCP system. The measuring equipment must be matched to this system.

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