Traditional Flavors From Modern Automated Processes
When the demand for your products reaches a tipping point, it’s time to consider automated solutions to help your existing workforce meet the growing demand. But when you’re accustomed to the tried-and-true, traditional processes, the idea of implementing automated solutions can be daunting. Some even fear the transition to automation will erode the flavor and quality their customers have come to expect. After all, that flavor and quality are what brought these businesses success in the first place.
But processors should not fear automation. Today’s automated food processing equipment is designed not only to help augment workforces challenged by the state of the labor market but also to improve the overall taste and quality of end products. Better product quality happens through a combination of means, including having full control of the entire process, which ensures exactly the right amount of ingredients are used and product is cooked or processed for exactly the right amount of time at exactly the right temperature — with no deviation.
A great example of the increased consistency comes from brine injectors. Many manufacturers still use a single-needle, manual approach, but a multineedle industrial injector provides superior brine results by evenly distributing any brine recipe throughout a cut of meat, whether bone-in or boneless red meat, poultry, or fish. Industrial brine injectors not only create a consistently flavorful product but they reduce curing time. Automated injectors also offer full control of the amount of brine injected into each piece of meat, ensuring the exact amount of brine is added to each and every piece in every batch. Some systems even can go a step further, using integrated weighing systems to verify that the proper amount of brine was added. All of this further ensures that a product’s expected flavors, textures, and qualities meet or exceed that of traditional processing.
Process control doesn’t stop at ingredient measurement precision. Take the Protech Automated Spiral Cooking/Smoking/Freezing system for example. The system features three spiral chambers that cook, smoke, and then freeze product. With this system, temperature is precisely controlled in each chamber to ensure the product is cooked or frozen at desired temperatures. In addition, the system runs continuously — it does not need to be powered down between batches. The result is that temperatures are maintained at all times for perfect, even cooking, which eliminates operator worries about the system being “up to temperature.”
Another example of flavor and quality enhancement from automated processing is tenderizing and marinating. When compared with traditional marination methods, vacuum tumblers enable products to reach full marination as much as 30 times faster. Vacuum tumbled meats also maintain more liquid weight and experience more efficient protein extraction from the tumbling process, resulting in meat products that remain moister and more flavorful through cooking.
Conveyor systems can also improve the quality of your product. By removing manual transition at every step not only reduces the chance of product loss but product is guaranteed to stay in better shape and, depending on the system, can even be cooked more evenly.
When used for bacon processing, the Protech Automated Spiral Cooking/Smoking/Freezing system conveyors eliminate the need for manual transfer of product, so pork bellies do not need to be traumatized by the act of hooking the belly for hanging in the smoker, and they stay evenly spaced out — completely eliminating the chances for overlapping and uneven cooking. This means that every belly that enters the system is evenly cooked, smoked, and frozen, ensuring quality and flavor consistency from batch to batch.
These are only a few examples of how automation can improve flavor and quality. If you want to learn how you can maintain the flavors and quality you’re known for while automating your processes, contact us today.