Cryogenic cooling project to revolutionise ready meals

OAL in partnership with BOC, the University of Lincoln and Iceland Manufacturing, has begun a collaborative research project set to revolutionise ready meals.

The £969,000 project, part funded by Innovate UK, will last two years and aims to develop an innovative cooking and cryogenic cooling system for ready meals providing a step change in product quality and healthiness. The project seeks to help tackle the current levels of food waste and increase the speed of production. The collaborative project is the first of its kind in the food industry.

The Advanced Cooking and Cooling Technology project (ACCT) will be led by OAL and will seek to combine OAL’s rapid cooking Steam Infusion Vaction technology with a rapid cryogenic cooler from BOC.

This project will enable just-in-time production enhancing the manufacture of the fast growing ready meal, soups and other sauce-based food products.

Harry Norman, managing director at OAL explains:

“Innovation is critical in enabling us to minimise the cost of manufacturing food products. Cryogenic cooling offers fantastic opportunities for our customers to improve product whilst at the same time reducing costs.”

Over the two-year project, the team plans to gain a full scientific understanding of the effects of rapid cooling using liquid nitrogen on sauces and soups, and the vegetables, fruits and meats they contain in order to maximise nutritional values. Product shelf life could also be increased and waste minimised as we will develop a fully flexible process that will reduce production, cleaning and changeover times for increasingly variable supply requirements.