Freeze dried food group invests £1.5m in tech after lockdown surge
Lancashire freeze-dried food producer European Freeze Dry has announced further investment of more than £1.5m in its manufacturing sites in the UK and Denmark following a growth in sales.
A third cookpot has now been installed in its manufacturing facility at Preston in addition to a new rotary packer, increasing production levels at the UK facility.
At Kirke Hyllinge in Denmark, a new freeze dryer has been added to the manufacturing capacity to help meet higher demand.
The new investment will allow European Freeze Dry to continue to meet growing demand for nutritious long-life ingredients, commission drying services and ready meals.
Diana Morris, country manager UK for European Freeze Dry, said: “We’ve been experiencing unprecedented demand for our ingredients.
“With meals having a shelf life of up to 25 years in tins and seven years in pouches, our freeze dried options lend themselves to crises such as the pandemic.
“We’ve seen a dramatic rise in demand from the public and private sector as well as individual consumers who want tasty food which offers a longer shelf life, reduced waste and a lighter product for storage and transport.”
She added: “Freeze dried food lends itself to extreme situations in all kinds of circumstances from sustaining nutrition in remote locations to preparing for an extended period indoors.
“We are responding to different demands and resourcing our operations to satisfy existing and new customers in the public and private sectors.”
European Freeze Dry’s ingredients and ready-made meals are becoming a relevant source of nutrition and flavour as an alternative to food which may quickly lose its freshness.
The company’s range of freeze dried long lasting ingredients include fruit, vegetables and seafood, including its new vegan and gourmet ranges, while the experimental kitchen allows for new product development testing for ready meals, noodle pots and baking ingredients.
The freeze drying process uses a deep vacuum under which neither ice nor water can exist.
The pressure from the vacuum, with a controlled amount of heat applied, causes the ice to leave the product as a vapour trail leaving a natural dried product.
The process takes on average a day to complete, carried out in a set of ‘chambers’ which can be controlled at various temperatures and time schedules, depending on specific product requirements.
The reduction in water in the final product means there is a much reduced potential for microorganisms existing in such low amounts of water, leading to a shelf life of up to two years at room temperature, without the use of preservatives.