Global food processing equipment supplier, JBT FoodTech, has been perfecting its ability to process seasonal potato products for ready meal components and convenience foods, in response to the growing demand for different processed potato variations.
The company's Double D Continuous Protein Oven features a unique impingement system which can be finely adjusted to suit seasonal variations in the potatoes' sugar content which affects its ability to develop colour, according to Ian Wallace, JBT FoodTech's Double D international sales support and marketing manager.
"Potatoes are an important component for frozen or ready meals and, as manufacturers develop more convenience food varieties, they need to be able to process potatoes efficiently, without losing their taste, appearance or texture," he says.
"However, the sugar content in raw potatoes can differ significantly between seasonal varieties, and this can alter its ability to take colour. For example, old potatoes have more sugar and will develop colour more easily than new potatoes. By finely adjusting the fan speed we can ensure that each potato is the desired colour, no matter the season."
Diced, baked and roasting potatoes can all be treated evenly with the system, with equally good results on very thin slices for toppings or Potato Dauphinoise. The oven's impingement system is also key when processing jacket potatoes.
"During some parts of the season the skins on jacket potatoes are more delicate and need to be treated with extra care to avoid blistering or skin separation. This is another challenge that we've been addressing with the oven's airflow system."
JBT FoodTech can now provide a complete in-line potato processing system by integrating the Double D Continuous Protein Oven with a Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT® spiral freezer.
The company's full range of custom-built Double D ovens and Frigoscandia freezers is available for tests at its Broxburn-based Food Technology Centre in the UK.