Automation in the seafood industry
19 July 2021
Differences between shrimps and prawns
Differences between shrimps and prawns
3 September 2021


The ability to make food last for an extended period has always been a valuable resource. Before the middle of the 20th century, maintaining perishable foods was expensive and challenging, but the introduction of refrigerators revolutionized the entire process.

The IQF method, which stands for Individual Quick Freezing, doesn’t simply contain a solid block of frozen shrimp; instead, each of them individually frozen shrimps is loose inside the bag, making it much easier to work with. IQF is relatively new, and even though you might not have heard of it, you probably have enjoyed its benefits. It is the advancement in IQF design that allowed customers to treat themselves with excellent frozen products all around the world.

There are only a limited variety of food items that can be frozen using conditional methods. IQF frozen food, on the other hand, still retains the rich flavor and its natural appearance. There’s virtually no limit to what you can freeze using an IQF freezer

How does IQF technology work? Each product is individually frozen into the core. The IQF freezer prevents the dehydration and fading of the product’s natural taste by preventing the formation of large ice crystals inside the food product cells. The rapid freezing of a product usually achieves this.

The benefits of freezing your food products using IQF instead of cold storage freezing include:

  • Preserving more of the natural properties of the product. IQF freezing significantly reduces the loss of taste, quality of the product’s texture, and nutritional value. 
  • The products preserve their natural integrity.  
  • Defrosting IQF frozen foods takes much less time. 

Reduce your environmental footprint with IQF machinery!

IQF machines are efficient when it comes to using natural resources. The extent of energy efficiency will depend on the qualities of the individual machine. Still, you can count on modern IQF machines to significantly reduce the waste of water, electricity, and, most importantly, your food stocks. Consumers are choosing more environmentally friendly companies, reduce your environmental footprint with IQF machinery. 

IQF freezing vs. Cryogenic Freezing

Cryogenic freezing systems are one of the best alternatives to IQF freezing. These machines don’t require too much upfront investment and can freeze a high volume of products. They are particularly useful when you need a solution for freezing a moderate amount of seafood. There are various types of cryogenic freezing systems on the market. All of them are more or less ergonomically designed to fit into your factory floor layout like a piece of a puzzle. 

There are two distinct applications of cryogenic freezing in practice – spraying and immersion systems. The former method involves spraying your product with a medium (usually liquid nitrogen). Afterward, the belt carries the products to be instantaneously frozen. Using this method minimizes the dehydration of your product. The only downside is that the products carried with the belt might develop a lump, become sticky, or get otherwise deformed. Some consider immersion to be the superior method for performing cryogenic freezing. Immersion freezer machines can do the job at an even faster rate and with less dehydration than the other methods. In this case, the belt isn’t carrying the products, so there are no issues cleaning the belt. Therefore, immersion freezer machines are much easier to clean. The only real downside for immersion freezers is that the process consumes lots of medium substances to do the freezing. Your operation will be dependent on the volatile supply of these substances.

The technologies behind IQF and cryogenic freezing systems are very different. The former uses a refrigerant to eliminate the heat and quickly freeze the products, while the latter applies a medium to freeze it. Despite the differences, both are very practical for various use cases. The better solution for you depends on variables such as your volume, speed, etc. 

Importance of IQF for Seafood Processing

Seafood is one of the most perishable types of food and needs to be processed before it can be delivered to the customer. Freezing it using the IQF technology is an integral part of preserving seafood. Blast Freezing various types of fish and shrimp can increase its shelf life while keeping the trademark taste these products are known for. With the development of technology, frozen products found in retail stores are getting increasingly better in terms of overall quality. Therefore the expectations for frozen products are rising as well.

Most Innovative IQF Machines

One of the most practical innovations in IQF freezing is the tunnel design. This type of layout allows you to blast-freeze large quantities of seafood in a short amount of time. If you’re struggling to find a space for an IQF freezer in your processing unit, freezing tunnels might once again save the day. Their design allows you to place them outside and incorporate the infeed/outfeed of the freezer into your production area in an effective way. This type of unit can maintain a higher standard of IQF freezing and process more food per day than other freezers with a cryogenic design. IQF tunnel freezer advantage over immersion freezers is that it requires less liquid nitrogen to function.

There are various types of machines used for blast-freezing seafood today. To choose the best one, you need to understand what your processing plant needs first. What kind of volume do you expect to freeze every month? Are you concerned about the high investment costs that might be required for modern machines? What kind of products are you trying to freeze? Answering these and similar questions will help you determine what sort of IQF freezer you need. Considering the benefits of IQF freezing, it is obvious that investing in modern IQF machinery is worth investing in. Contact us for more information!

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What is IQF Technology?
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