Individual Quick Freezing

Individual Quick Freezing

IQF freezing also called individual quick freezing, is a cryogenic cooling process used in the food industry. Would you like to discuss this topic in more detail with our experts? Read this guide. 

How does IQF freezing work?

Two types of cryogenic fluids are used for the individual quick freezing process for fish: liquid nitrogen and liquid carbon dioxide (the main energy carrier for this fluid is dry ice). These gases must be food grade to be used in industry.

What are the IQF quick freezing modes?

Individual quick freezing technology cryogenic equipment can operate in two modes: continuous and batch. Continuous cryogenic freezing consists of continuously advancing food during its processing. Batch cryogenic freezing, on the contrary, must be manually filled and emptied between each production.

Which foods are suitable for quick freezing of individual products?

IQF or individual quick freezing rapid freezing technologies allow manufacturers to adapt to new consumer demands. Indeed, it is a solution for creating special recipes, or individual portions.

FOR THE SMALLEST FOODS: to freeze small foods, which are very often fragile, such as fruits and vegetables, the IQF solution is optimal. Indeed, IQF blast chillers allow freezing at low temperatures. Thus, even the smallest foods will be frozen individually: they do not stick together.

FOR PREPARED PRODUCTS: IQF or individual quick freezing individual freezing equipment allows food to be cooled at a low temperature, in order to then integrate it into the production of another recipe. Here we can cite the example of fruit before insertion into a yogurt. Air Liquide answers all your questions, do not hesitate to contact our experts.

Food grade: in cryogenics, a food-grade gas must meet strict standards in order to be used in the food industry. At Air Liquide, food gases (liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide) have obtained food safety certifications.

The fact that food is industrially frozen brings many benefits to the user that we will detail later, first of all, we are going to tell you how it works.

This individual quick frozen process allows the ice crystals that form inside the cells of the food tissues to be very small, which does not allow the cell walls of the food to break. Therefore, when defrosting the product there is no leakage of cellular fluids, which is where the nutrients of the food are found, and at the same time, it guarantees that the original texture and flavor are maintained.

Individual quick freezing technology process is carried out in a continuous spiral-shaped belt, inside a closed enclosure that works with an air temperature of -20 to -30ºC, where the food arrives properly separated and the surface in contact with the air is so large that there is practically no loss of liquids, and the whole process takes between 20 and 40 minutes depending on the volume of the food. By freezing in this way, post-freeze quality control is easier as it can be viewed piece by piece.

Additionally, the use of this individual quick freezing process for fish process guarantees that the products do not need any type of chemicals or preservatives for their preservation. And thanks to the abrupt changes in temperature, the presence of microorganisms that could be present in food is significantly reduced.

French fries Processing line
The beginnings of the freeze:

Freezing is one of the oldest and most widely used methods for preserving food, which allows the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of food to be preserved over time better than any other method. 

The individual quick frozen process is a combination of the beneficial effects of low temperatures, in which microorganisms cannot grow, chemical reactions are also reduced and cellular metabolic reactions are delayed, which delays the deterioration of food, prolonging its shelf life and useful life.

The safety and nutritional quality of frozen products are highlighted when good quality raw materials are used when good manufacturing practices are used during processing, and the products are maintained according to the specified temperature conditions.

Initially, ice and salt systems were used to preserve fish, and in the early 1800s freezing was introduced into large-scale operations as a commercial preservation method. 

The first products used in the trials were the fruits preserved from their harvest time until their subsequent processing into jams and jellies. 

In 1917 tests were carried out on the individual quick freezing process for vegetables, and in 1929 it was concluded that it was necessary to carry out a previous blanching to inactivate enzymes before freezing to avoid deterioration and unpleasant flavors caused by enzymatic degradation.

The modern individual quick frozen industry began in 1928 with the development of double belt contact freezers; After the revolution in blast freezing process and machinery, the industry became more flexible, especially with the use of multi-layer freezers. 

Successful results were obtained when individual quick freezing process fish and chicken, and with new blast-freezing technology it was possible to freeze the packaged product between two metal belts as they moved through a freezing tunnel.

By 1930 the quick freezing of packages for direct sale to the consumer helped frozen vegetables become more widely accepted.

Currently, individual quick frozen is the only large-scale method that allows products to be obtained all year round and makes it possible to move large volumes of food to different geographical regions.

This blog is also worth reading for you:– Cold Storage Business in Western Sahara

How can start seafood projects
What are the differences between IQF and slow freezing?

The substantial difference between the individual quick freezing process for fish and slow freezing is the size of the ice crystal that forms inside the product. If the temperature is not low enough, freezing takes place slowly and the water contained in the food forms large ice crystals that damage the cell walls. 

And, on the other hand, when thawed, will allow the spillage of internal fluids that will alter the characteristics of organoleptic (flavor, texture) of the food, in addition to the times required to achieve defrosting, which are long since the ice block is larger.

As for the future, technology never stands still. Experts at NSSPL expect there is still work to be done when it comes to sizing the IQF freezers: Sizing goes hand in hand with efficiency and that has always been one of our main goals. 

Already, our units are around 30 to 40% smaller than our competitors’ freezing and processing units, which not only saves energy but also makes more efficient use of space. 

You can imagine a customer not wanting to dismantle half of their production floor just to replace or upgrade a single component of an IQF freezer. 

So, we will always try to increase efficiency and have already proven ourselves in this department. We are also exploring different types of new applications that IQF can freeze. For example, we can now Individual quick freezing technology to freeze herbs and leaf products. It’s a great solution to keep the fresh taste.

All in all, we believe that the individual quick freezing process should become the future of the fruit and vegetable supply: We honestly believe that freshness will not survive in the long run when it comes to overseas transport. There will always be the transport of fresh produce, but we assume it’s a local supply. 

Customer expectations are constantly increasing and they are looking for natural flavor and aroma that is difficult to find in fresh fruits and berries shipped from overseas, for example.

Iqf Freezing


The oxygen molecules can affect the color as well as change the taste of frozen food. It’s OK to eat the food with freezer burn or kept safe to eat, but you might not like the texture or taste.

Tactlessly, you can’t freeze eggs in a shell, or you can’t freeze along with egg yolks. However, the frozen eggs are not used to make meals.

Mr. Yogesh Dahiya

Mr. Yogesh Dahiya

The Managing Director of Natural Storage Solutions Pvt Ltd is known for his expertise in setting up cold storage, chilling plants and food processing units.

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