Ready meals to benefit from cutting-edge technology

Linde Gases, part of The Linde Group, has revealed plans that BOC, its UK and Ireland subsidiary, will be a main collaborator partner in The Advanced Cooking and Cooling Technology (ACCT) project.

ACCT is a two-year programme created to develop an innovative cooking and cooling system that will significantly improve the quality and health of ready meals.

“There are major opportunities for improvement in food manufacturing – improving nutritional values and productivity and reducing waste – so BOC is delighted to be a key partner in this project,” said Cedric Hanson, business development manager, application technology, BOC.

ACCT, funded by Innovate UK, aims to combine steam infusion technology for rapid cooking with rapid cooling using liquid nitrogen (LIN).

The innovative integrated system will feature a cryogenic rapid cooler from BOC. Not only will it improve just-in-time production, but will assist in the development of food production of ready meals and soups, alongside other sauce-based food products.  

During the course of the project, a complete scientific understanding of the effects of using LIN on sauces and soups, including meat and other ingredients, will be obtained to maximise nutritional values.

“We believe it will result in the development of a new generation of food products and processes that are not possible using current process technologies,” added Hanson.  

In addition, it is expected that product shelf-life has the potential to be increased while waste could be minimised. This is down to the incorporation of a process that reduces production, cleaning and changeover times for variable supply requirements.

ACCT’s other partners include the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing, food engineering specialist Olympus Automation Ltd (OAL) Group and Iceland Manufacturing.

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