Frozen foods have been staples in the American diet for decades now. They’re also becoming more present in the restaurant sphere.

By the year 2024, experts estimate that the IQF (short for individually quick frozen) foods market, specifically, will reach a valuation of more than $1.6 billion. Clearly, people aren’t afraid of frozen food.

Have you never heard of IQF foods before? Are you unsure what they are or why you ought to be using them in your kitchen?

Keep reading to learn more about these foods and the unique benefits they have to offer

What Does IQF Mean?

Let’s start with the basics. You might know the acronym IQF meaning, but do you actually know what these kinds of foods are?

Individually quick frozen foods differ from traditional frozen food because, as the name suggests, each individual item within the package is frozen individually.

When you buy regular frozen peas, you might end up with a huge frozen block of peas that you have to break apart with a mallet before you can start cooking. With IQF peas, though, each pea gets frozen on its own. As a result, you end up with a bag of loose frozen peas that are much easier to use.

The IQF process is also known as flash-freezing. It involves sending individual pieces of food down a conveyor belt and into a blast chiller, which freezes the food pieces quickly. Since the pieces of food are separated when they enter the blast chiller, they stay separated when they’re packaged for resale.

Benefits of IQF Frozen Foods

There are lots of reasons why restaurant owners and chefs ought to incorporate IQF foods into their cooking. Here are some of the specific benefits these types of foods have to offer:

Less Food Degradation

Some foods degrade after they’ve been frozen and become limp or dried out. This happens when large ice crystals form and cause damage to the fibers of the food. When you use IQF frozen foods, though, you can avoid this issue.

Because these foods are frozen quickly, the ice crystals that are produced are much smaller. They cause far less damage to the food and help you maintain or improve the quality of the dishes you’re serving.

Better Nutrition

Frozen food gets a bad rap in some circles. In reality, though, it can actually be more nutritious than fresh food. This is especially true of IQF food.

IQF food gets frozen at peak freshness. This means that, when it’s defrosted and used in your cooking, it provides your customers with the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

IQF food doesn’t require the use of preservatives or additives, either. Your customers get to enjoy healthy, whole foods without being exposed to a bunch of “extras” added in to try and keep it fresh.

Reduced Costs

Pretty much every chef and restaurant owner out there is looking for ways to cut costs and improve the business’s bottom line. One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate IQF food into the menu.

IQF food costs way less for everyone, but especially people like restaurant owners who are buying food in bulk. You can save a ton of money by purchasing some foods that have been flash-frozen and using them in your kitchen.

Keep in mind that when you save money by using certain IQF foods, you’ll have more funds to use for other foods in your kitchen. This can allow you to make further improvements to the quality of your menu and provide your customers with an even better experience.

Access Out-of-Season Foods

The practice of flash-freezing food allows people to enjoy certain items all year-round, not just when they’re in-season. If you want to serve certain foods on your menu throughout the year, using IQF food is one of the best options to consider. It allows you to provide a more robust menu to your customers, but it also allows you to ensure that the food you serve is of the highest quality.

Reduced Packaging Waste

In many cases, IQF foods require less packaging than other types of frozen foods. Some manufacturers will use individual packaging for things like chicken to prevent pieces from sticking together. The problem with this is that it results in a ton of extra waste.

With IQF food, you don’t have to worry about food items getting stuck to each other. This, in turn, means less packaging and less trash ending up in landfills. It’s a win-win for your restaurant and the planet!

The Best IQF Foods to Buy

Okay, you’re convinced that purchasing IQF foods for your kitchen might be a good idea. How do you shop for these foods, though? What are some of the best foods for you to buy frozen?

Listed below are some of the foods that chefs almost always buy frozen. Keep this list in mind as you start looking for IQF foods to use in your restaurant:

  • French fries
  • Berries
  • Peppers
  • Fish, shrimp, and other seafood
  • Peas
  • Pastry dough
  • Edamame
  • Chicken

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to incorporating IQF food into your cooking, consider looking adding some of these popular items to your shopping list.

Enjoy IQF Foods Today

Now that you know more about what IQF foods are and the benefits of IQF freezing for restaurant and business owners, are you interested in incorporating these foods into your kitchen? Keep the information listed above in mind, especially as you start shopping, to ensure you’re getting the best foods for your recipes and your customers.

Do you want to learn more about preparing healthy food for your customers? If so, check out some of the other resources available on our site. Head to the Health section today for more information and resources.

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