Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Freezing foods going green

In-depth research has revealed ways to improve how foods are frozen using more eco-friendly and less costly technology.
Freezing foods going green
Frozen foods are an important part of the food industry, and improved quick freezing techniques can help make the sector much more competitive. The EU-funded project Compfreeze took up the challenge.

The project focused on helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become more productive and less costly through better low-temperature freezing equipment based on carbon dioxide (CO2) as a refrigerant. Compfreeze developed high-tech computing to design new equipment such as plate freezers and ice cream freezers, and to measure their performance as well. It conducted finite element analysis (FEM) of food freezing and simulated the impact of the freezing process on key foods including meat, pies, mushrooms and ice cream.

After intense testing, the project outlined the relationship between product quality and nucleation rate of ice crystals, deepening our understanding of how frozen foods are best preserved. It articulated techniques to speed up the freezing time and found ways to improve the freezing process, making it easier to defrost and maintain foods.

Compfreeze successfully upgraded freezing methods armed with all the new knowledge and integrated the new technology into production lines of companies linked to the project. Food producers associated with the initiative also benefited from a wealth of knowledge that is likely to make food look and taste better. This will increase European competitiveness and modernise the safe, valuable concept of freezing to extend shelf life and quality of many food products.

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