A leading European seafood manufacturer has chosen a Lagarde autoclave for the production of ready-meals at one of their factories. Part of a multi-million pound investment, the installation gives major benefits to product quality and distribution.
As a brand leader in fish based ready meals, the client needed to improve the shelf-life of their products to give greater time in store and in distribution allowing them to enter new markets. But this could not be at the expense of product quality.
Initially the development team were concerned that the short sharp thermal process used in a retort might damage the integrity and flavour of their products. Using both Lagarde’s test facilities and pilot equipment loaned to the factory, they started to identify the critical aspects of the process. Indeed such was the level of concern over product quality, they subjected the test products to external sampling in order to get proper feedback. The results were very impressive. The products had a smooth well-rounded flavour and were well received. There was even a shelf-life extension, allowing the client to provide additional days in store to their customers and thus assisting in cutting wastage.
The new unit also featured Lagarde’s Samantha PC control system which allows very careful temperature and pressure control – essential when handling delicate CPET trays with a top film. The control system also provides excellent data acquisition and monitoring – all reports being generated in straight forward .pdf format. The touch screen allows selection of recipe by name size and even container type and alarms are recorded for analysis. The system even has to pass coding to see who carried out any interventions on the retort during a process.
High quality products are cooled to less than 5˚c before being transferred into holding chill prior to onward despatch.