The challenges of achieving superior IQF shrimp

February 9, 2017 14:02

Just like the case of many other frozen products, seafood processors are expected to deliver superior products. The most difficult challenge in achieving high quality frozen seafood, especially IQF shrimp, comes from the difficulty of processing this type of product, which can result in higher costs.

First of all, IQF shrimp producers need to prove their capability in offering products that respect all the food safety standards. Also, IQF shrimp needs to have a natural look, with all its qualities preserved from harvest to the point of delivery, and of course, to have the longest shelf life possible.

When using traditional methods to freeze shrimp, a number of issues occur. Raw and cooked frozen shrimp can develop bad odors if the storage temperature is too high. Another challenging aspect is the stickiness of the raw shrimp, which is the main cause of lump formation during the freezing process, in particular if they are frozen in blocks.

Another important issue is that both raw and cooked shrimp needs to be protected from dehydration. If traditional cold store freezing method is used, the shrimp is usually protected by glazing or suitable packaging. Glazing, though, is not an optimal method of keeping the shrimp safe from dehydration. Freezing time is a crucial element as a too short or too long time can result in incomplete freezing of the core or drying and “freezer burns”.

Compared to block frozen shrimp, IQF shrimp is far more superior, due to the fact that they are individually loaded into the conveyor of the IQF tunnel freezer, where they are rapidly frozen. The end product has a superior quality, with natural appearance ensured. The IQF technology is by far the best solution for freezing shrimp, providing a large number of benefits. IQF shrimp are quickly frozen to the core, the IQF technology providing the highest freezing capacity per square foot. The OctoFrost IQF tunnel freezer, for example, is known for producing IQF shrimp with natural appearance even with intact antennas or tails.

The sticky texture of shrimp is the main cause for difficulties in cleaning the processing equipment, an aspect that increases the risk of cross contamination. Achieving a reliable food safety is a challenge that IQF technology manages to handle successfully, thanks to a number of design features that prevent the development of bacteria inside the IQF tunnel freezer.

Another benefit of using Individually Quick Freezing technology to produce IQF shrimp is that they can be thawed in a couple of minutes, or they can be cooked directly from the frozen state, compared to shrimp frozen in blocks that can take up to 20 hours to be thawed. If the thawing process is artificially accelerated, the risk of damaging the shrimp is increased.

The OctoFrost IQF tunnel freezer is already used as the optimal solution for achieving superior IQF shrimp, by many shrimp processors. IQF technology is very profitable for shrimp processors, allowing them to achieve premium products that meet the high expectations of consumers, while also maintaining high standards for food safety.  

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