All Knowledge You Must Know About IQF

IQF Feature

Content Category

What is IQF

Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) is a method of freezing individual pieces of food separately, rather than freezing them in a bulk or block. This technique is commonly used in the food industry to preserve its quality.

IQF Foods List

Below are the main foods using IQF technique.

FruitVegetableSeafoodMeatDairyHerb
StrawberriesPeasShrimpChicken breastCheese cubes Chopped parsley
BlueberriesCorn kernelsCodsBeef stripsCream cheese portionsChopped cilantro
RaspberriesBroccoli floretsScallopsPork cubesCheddarMinced garlic
Sliced peachesDiced carrotsSquid ringsMeatballsMozzarellaMinced Bay leaves
Mango chunksGreen beansCrab meatChicken thighsRicottaChopped tarragon
Pineapple chunksSpinachTilapiasChicken wingsBlue cheeseChopped chervil

How IQF Works

1. Preparation

Before IQF process begins, the food items undergo preparation. This includes washing, peeling, and cutting the items into the desired size and shape. Uniformity in size is crucial for effective and consistent freezing.

2. Pre-Freezing (Optional)

In some cases, should have pre-freezing step. This involves partially freezing the outer layer of the food items before IQF process begins. This initial freezing can help maintain the shape and structure of the individual pieces during rapid freezing.

3. Individual Quick Freezing

The core of the IQF process involves rapidly freezing each individual piece of food separately. Specialized IQF freezers are used for this purpose. These freezers can use techniques such as cold air circulation or the application of cryogenic substances like liquid nitrogen to achieve rapid freezing.

4. Preventing Ice Crystal Formation

One of the key purpose of IQF is to prevent the formation of large ice crystals. The quick freezing process ensures that ice crystals remain small and distributed, minimizing damage to the cellular structure of the food. This is crucial for preserving the quality, texture, and flavor of the frozen items.

5. Packaging

Once the individual quick freezing is complete, the frozen food items need to package. Packaging allows easy portioning and protects the items from freezer burn. It also facilitates convenient storage and distribution.

6. Storage and Distribution

The individually frozen items can be stored in freezers until they are ready for distribution. Because each piece is frozen separately, they can be easily separated when needed. This is especially beneficial for both consumers and food manufacturers as it allows for flexibility in portioning.

IQF Food-Banana

7. Quality Retention

The entire IQF process is geared towards retaining the quality of the food products. By freezing each piece individually and preventing the clumping of items, IQF method ensures that the frozen products closely resemble their fresh counterparts in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional content.

8. Application Across Various Foods

IQF is versatile and applicable to a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat, dairy, and herbs. The method has become a standard in the food processing industry for preserving the quality of frozen products.

What is IQF Freezer

IQF freezer, or Individual Quick Freezing freezer, is a special Freezing Equipment used in food industry for the rapid freezing of individual pieces of food. This type of freezer can quickly freeze each piece of food separately, prevent the formation of large ice crystals and preserve the quality of the product.

IQF freezers can use various methods for quick freezing, including cold air circulation or using cryogenic substances(such as liquid nitrogen). The goal is to freeze food items rapidly, typically within a short period, to maintain the texture, flavor, and nutritional content of the individual pieces.

These freezers are an essential component in the IQF process, ensuring that each piece of food is frozen individually and can be easily separated when needed. The design of IQF freezers allows for efficient and high-quality freezing, making them a crucial part of the food processing industry.

IQF Packing Consideration

1. Material

Packaging materials for IQF products should be suitable for freezing temperatures and prevent freezer burn. Common materials include plastic films, bags, or containers designed for freezer use.

2. Sealing

Packaging should provide an effective seal to prevent air and moisture from entering, which helps maintain the quality of the frozen items. Proper sealing also prevents the risk of freezer burn.

3. Portion Control

Packaging must allow easy portioning of the frozen items, especially for consumer convenience, enabling them to take out only the appropriate amount without thawing the entire batch.

4. Protection from Contamination

Packaging should protect the frozen items from external contaminants, odors, and moisture during storage and transportation.

IQF Packing

5. Visibility

Transparent or semi-transparent packaging allows consumers to see the contents, easier to identify and select specific items without opening the package.

6. Labeling

Clear and informative labeling is essential. Labels should include product names, freezing date, storage instructions, and any other relevant information.

7. Instructions 

If need specific thawing or cooking instructions, they should be provided on the packaging to ensure consumers handle the product correctly.

8.Sustainability

There is an increasing focus on environmentally friendly packaging. Must use sustainable and recyclable materials to align with eco-friendly practices.

9. Shelf Life Information

Packaging often includes information on the recommended storage duration and shelf life of the frozen products.

10. Branding

For commercial products, packaging is a good chance for branding. It may include the product logo, company name, and other branding elements.

11. Packaging Size

Packaging sizes can vary based on the quantity of frozen items inside. Different sizes may be available to cater to various consumer needs.

Difference between IQF and Cold Room Freezing

1. Freezing Method

IQF–In Individual Quick Freezing, each piece of food is frozen individually and rapidly. The process involves using specialized freezers that quickly freeze each item separately.

Cold Room Freezing–In a Cold Room or conventional freezing, food items are frozen in bulk or batches. The freezing process is typically slower, and the food items may freeze together as a mass.

Cold room 3

2. Ice Crystal Formation

IQF–The rapid freezing in IQF minimizes the formation of large ice crystals. This is crucial for preserving the texture, flavor, and nutritional content of the individual pieces.

Cold Room Freezing–Slower freezing in a Cold Room can result in the formation of larger ice crystals, potentially affecting the quality of the food, especially in terms of texture.

3. Quality 

IQF–IQF is known for preserving the quality of food products. The quick freezing process helps maintain the integrity of each piece, and the individual freezing prevents items from sticking together.

Cold Room Freezing–While cold room freezing is effective for preserving many types of food, it may not be as precise as IQF in maintaining the quality of individual pieces.

4. Flexibility and Portioning

IQF–IQF allows for easy portioning of frozen foods since each piece is frozen separately. This is helpful for both consumers and manufacturers, reducing waste.

Cold Room Freezing–Portioning in Cold Room Freezing may require thawing larger portions, and separating individual pieces can be more challenging.

5. Energy Efficiency

IQF–The rapid freezing process in IQF can contribute to energy efficiency compared to slower freezing methods.

Cold Room Freezing–Cold room freezing may require more energy due to the relatively longer freezing times.

6.Processing Speed

IQF–IQF is a faster freezing method, allowing for quick processing of large quantities of food items.

Cold Room Freezing–Cold room freezing is relatively slower, which may impact the overall processing speed.

Difference between IQF Freezer and Blast Freezer

1. Purpose

IQF Freezer–Specifically designed for the rapid freezing of individual pieces of food. It focuses on freezing each item separately to preserve the quality, texture, and nutritional content of the food.

Blast Freezer–Designed for rapidly reducing the temperature of a large quantity of food items or products in a short period. It is more generalized and may be used for bulk freezing.

Cold room not cooling

2. Freezing Method

IQF Freezer–Freezes each piece of food individually. It employs techniques such as cold air circulation or using cryogenic substances like liquid nitrogen for quick and precise freezing.

Blast Freezer–Uses powerful fans and Refrigeration Systems to circulate cold air at high speed. The goal is to bring down the temperature of the entire load of food quickly, making it suitable for bulk freezing.

3. Precision vs. Bulk Freezing

IQF Freezer–Precision freezing for individual items, providing better control over the freezing process. Ideal for foods where maintaining the integrity of each piece is crucial.

Blast Freezer–Bulk freezing for a large quantity of items simultaneously. While it achieves rapid freezing, it may not provide the same level of precision as an IQF freezer, especially when it comes to individual pieces.

4. Application

IQF Freezer–Commonly used in the food industry for freezing fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat, and other individual food items where maintaining quality is essential.

Blast Freezer–Applied in various industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, biochemical, and manufacturing, where need rapid cooling or freezing of products in large quantities.

5. Size and Design

IQF Freezer–Typically designed to accommodate smaller batches of food items. The design allows for the separation and quick freezing of individual pieces.

Blast Freezer–Larger in size and designed to handle more significant quantities of products. It often features racks or shelves for efficient air circulation and quick freezing of bulk loads.

6. Flexibility

IQF Freezer–Offers flexibility in portioning and use since individual items can be separated easily.

Blast Freezer–Suited for quickly freezing large batches of products, which may be less flexible in terms of portioning.

Conclusion

Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) emerges as a crucial technique in the food industry, specializing in the rapid freezing of individual food items. Its precision in preserving quality, minimizing freezer burn, and allowing flexible portioning highligts its significance in maintaining the integrity of frozen products.

IQF stands as an essential method for meeting consumer demands for high-quality frozen foods.

Any comments?

Welcome leave a message or repost.

About Author

Vic Cheung
Vic Cheung

Hi, I'm Vic! Start working in HVACR field since 2008, our main products included: air conditioning, cold room refrigeration system, water chiller, ice machine, commercial dehydrator, dehumidifier, heat pump, electric motor, and all accessories. Since joined China Speedway Group in 2012, I worked in here more than 10 years, as the general manager of export department, we have established 50+ agent in different countries and areas.
As our experience and strong technical support, we can solve your issue once you have, and our chief engineer has worked in HVACR field since 1997. I am so proud of our knowlege is more and more popular not only for engineer, and for HVACR business new comer, DIY lovers. Hope you are enjoying our articles, if any question or comments just welcome to send me marketing at cn-beyond.com

All Posts

About Our Company

China Speedway Group is a professional HVACR products’ manufacturer and wholesaler, we customize different HVACR products and spare parts, especially refrigeration products and parts. Such as air conditioning, refrigeration equipment, cold room solution, ice machine, dehumidifier, electric motor, heat exchanger,copper coil, etc.

As worked in HVACR field since 2010, we have more experiences can provide you unique products and solutions, also will supply life-span free charge of technical support. Warmly welcome inquiry us with your sample, drawing or design, our aim is making your idea come true and benefit you. 

What’s more, for our clients, we will source other products, verify the supplier, negotiate with them with free charge for you.

More About Our Products

Fan Motor

Air Conditioning

Condensing Unit

Unit Cooler

Cold Room

Dehumidifier

Ice Machine

Leave a Reply

Don’t Miss Out on the Best OEM Partner!

Ready to Work With Us?

Experience our difference and Take the first step toward a better future for your business!