As the consumption of fresh avocados began to increase, so did the popularity of IQF (individual quick freezing) avocados. However, when it comes to fresh but overripe avocados of unusual sizes, they can often be rejected. This could result in huge waste for wholesalers and consumers, says Rubén Larsson, founder of OctoFrost. "The shelf life of fresh avocados is only one or two days. There is a high probability that the avocados are already overripe or even spoiled on the day of purchase. The alternative for consumers is buying underripe avocados at a high price and letting them ripen at home. Knowing when an avocado is ripe for consumption is difficult, and we often end up with fruit that is discolored, rotten, and has already changed in taste."
Compared to fresh avocados, the shelf life of frozen IQF avocados is significantly longer: "Frozen IQF avocados are frozen at just the right point of ripeness, then packed and sold in bags or boxes to the consumer. As a result, the shelf life of IQF avocados is more than six months". With IQF OctoFrost technology, it is possible to freeze avocados right after harvest. This ensures their natural appearance, texture, smell, and nutrients are preserved. Therefore consumers get to enjoy a quality fruit full of flavor," explains Larsson. "IQF avocados are usually cut and frozen in halves, cubes, or slices. This makes it easy to get the required amount out of our fridge before thawing. This way, we avoid food waste and especially the growth of bacteria caused by thawing and freezing. repeatedly food that cannot be eaten all at once."
Larsson believes that pre-chilling the product is one of the most important aspects of the process: "Lowering the temperature of the avocados is essential before cutting them; it gives a better appearance of the product. OctoFrost™ coolers contain ice water, cooling the core of avocados below 5°C for uniform cutting and effective IQF freezing. Depending on the annual production rate, OctoFrost™ can offer solutions for both small and large production runs."
After pre-cooling, the freezing process begins. "The OctoFrost offers unique features to maintain good product separation and its characteristics without any damage, for avocado halves and even sticky cubes or slices. The cost per pound is typically lower with our new technology, and the yield is higher than other technologies on the market. Processors in the Americas, Africa, and Asia have already experienced the benefits of these features contributing to high yields and food safety." Larson concludes.