Francis Fouwé, Marel area sales manager, product group convenience, disclosed the Crunchy Coat System at the Gulfood Manufacturing trade show, held in Dubai from October 27-29.
Europe was the first target market for the application, said Fouwé, but once momentum had built there, the Middle East, in addition to other regions also had potential. “Here they put crispy products into sandwiches,” he told GlobalMeatNews.
The application could be used for fresh or frozen food, he said. Foodservice businesses such as food-to-go outlets and sandwich shops were core targets, because use of fryers by some of them presented safety and security risks.
Alternative to frying
Providing an alternative to frying also meant companies didn’t need to worry about how they disposed of used fat, Fouwé explained.
Many consumers also wanted to avoid frying food, said Jan-Christoph Driessen, director at DPS, specialists in ingredients for further processing. “Almost nobody wants to fry, but they do want crunchiness.
“We started on the development about nine months ago. We took as our reference exactly the same crunchiness and crispness you get when you reheat products in the oven.”
Key to the coating was that the breadcrumb used would not be damaged by the production process, he added. “Traditional machines created friction, damaging the breadcrumb. Marel has a coating machine that applies no friction, guaranteeing exactly the same results every time.
“The product is fried for a long time, much longer than traditional pre-fried products. After that, the consumer or restaurant can reheat them in the oven.
Lot of potential
“They are being introduced in the Netherlands. We see a lot of potential in Europe and other parts of the world, for example fast food chains in the Middle East, which don’t always have permission to use fryers. It opens a new channel for discussion.”
The five-step process initially involves applying a fine powder in a thin layer to the product. From there, the product is dipped in batter, then coated in breadcrumb, then dipped in batter again and then products are coated in breadcrumb one final time on a horizontal production line.
“Feedback from customers has been very positive,” said Driessen.
The next step was to make microwaveable products using the system, said Fouwé.