The Innovator Blog

How to Make the Most of Demand for Meat and Meat Alternative Products

As the global market for prepared foods continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, so does the number of people seeking meat free alternatives. Health-conscious consumers are opting for more plants on their plates, and as more consumers actively reduce, or completely eliminate meat from their diets, prepared food processors must be ready to respond.

Meat and meat alternative products

Many factors are driving the shift in consumer demand from animal proteins to meat alternative products. Health and nutrition, ethical eating choices, religious views, animal rights and sustainability are all contributing to more conscious purchase decisions and the plant-based alternatives market is growing even faster than traditional prepared foods.

Meat alternative products are already reshaping the dairy and meat industries and as a result, savvy brands are expanding their product strategies to include meat alternative products. Innovative products will be key to achieving success in this massive consumer market — and for existing processors of prepared foods — there’s good news

The very same equipment — already being used to create all the beef, pork, chicken, turkey and fish products your consumers love — can also be used to prepare and cook all manner of meat alternative food products.

Heat and Control’s range of innovative, high performance, equipment solutions (which are already helping the world’s leading processors of prepared foods take advantage of both markets) can create equally superior products — regardless of a meat or plant-based recipe.

Meat your standards for meat and plant-based foods

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right equipment for meat and plant-based food products. Heat and Control’s extensive experience in creating food processing lines, means we can help you create all the products consumers love; while also achieving more yield, efficiency and safety, than ever before.

We work with you — to understand your specific product objectives — your recipe — and your ready-to-eat meat, or meat alternative processes.

A number of innovative solutions are available, and whether it’s cooking, coating and seasoning, conveying or inspection of your meat, or plant-based food products, our solutions will provide equally superior results.

Great taste, high yield, and consistency — which sees every single item, prepared, or cooked, exactly to specification each and every time, is entirely possible. Want to know more?

Meet some of our ready-meal industry superstars!

AirForce Impingement OvenAirForce Impingement Oven

A genuine impingement oven is the industry standard for processors of par and fully cooked ready-to-eat food products. This type of oven cooks dramatically faster than comparable ovens — through use of technology to quickly and evenly transfer heat — across the full width of the product conveyor.

The AirForce® Impingement Oven has been proven to deliver faster cooking and greater uniformity than any other impingement oven. The true impingement process can preserve the flavor, and moisture, of your meat or meat alternative products, and produce higher finished yields.

It achieves high production output, and uniform high quality results, for a wide range of meat and meat alternative products because each individual product is cooked precisely to specification, and cooked equally, regardless of location on the belt.

While perfect for meat and meat alternative products, this style of oven is an industry workhorse with many other ideal applications, including meat, poultry, seafood, prepared foods, breaded/battered foods, baked foods, and even pet food.

AirFry SystemAirFry System

The popularity of air frying has exploded in recent years. As a long-term partner with the prepared foods industry, Heat and Control understands there will be many brands looking to take advantage of new product opportunities in this market.

Our recently released AirFry System — brings multiple technologies together to deliver a high-performance, industrial linear air frying system — for lower oil content food products. This innovative new frying system can create air fried/oven fried products with taste, texture, and appearance like fried foods without using traditional (submersion) frying methods.

AirFry can provide processors of meat and meat alternative products, the means to continuously produce a “fried-like” product by using a controlled application of topical oil, followed by a uniform flow of pressurized, high velocity cooking atmosphere from an impingement oven.

This system utilizes highly accurate, Spray Dynamics® oil application equipment to ensure complete and uniform coverage of your products, while keeping oil use to a minimum. When paired with our AirForce Impingement Oven it achieves the most uniform — and fastest — air fry time in the industry.

Processors have the option to purchase a brand-new system, or if they already own an impingement oven, they can retrofit a spray applicator system, with minimal investment. And, the AirFry System works with standard batter and breading application systems too.

SureCoat Breading ApplicatorSureCoat Breading Applicator

The biggest trend in breadings right now are gluten-free and clean label. With over 121 million gluten-free consumers in the world, processors are investing heavily in equipment which can assist them to produce (or expand) their product ranges to include gluten-free versions of traditional favorites.

The right equipment is critical to achieving the same crispiness, and flavor development, as with traditional breadings, and these factors are highly important for both meat, and meat alternative products.

Heat and Control’s SureCoat® Breading Applicator — is the industry’s hardest working applicator — delivering highly uniform coverage on all product surfaces. It has industry’s fastest changeover and cleaning times, and is suitable for a wide range of meat and meat alternative products.

SureCoat applicators have a unique design which allows them to uniformly apply pre-dust, granular, and non free-flowing breadings, as well as delicate Japanese-crumb or flake coatings. The breading is gently moved using large diameter augers and our unique lifter conveyor to preserve the breading integrity. Top and bottom coating application is controlled independently, for superior coverage of all product surfaces.

Breaded Products FryerBreaded Products Fryer

Clean, efficient, high-capacity frying is the key to processing the highest quality breaded products for convenience meals in the meat and meat alternative category. The fryer used to cook these products has a dramatic impact on the quality of the finished product and this is especially important for meat and meat alternative products.

Heat and Control’s Breaded Products Fryer provides clean, efficient and high-capacity frying for consumer favorites like chicken nuggets, bone-in chicken, meat patties, tempura shrimp, breast fillets, meatballs, egg rolls, coated vegetables and meat alternative products.

Another industry superstar for prepared foods, the breaded products fryer significantly reduces system oil volume by eliminating heating elements from the fryer pan — and every minute 100% of the system oil volume circulates between the fryer, filter, and external heat exchanger. Incoming oil and product velocities are carefully matched to preserve the product’s coatings and orientation. Gentle-flow oil inlets eliminate high velocity currents and maintain uniform oil flow and temperature, across the width of the pan. This fryer uses just enough oil to cover your products, so that the total system oil volume is 25-40% less than comparable direct heated fryers. This allows for faster oil turnover and will achieve a longer shelf life for your meat or meat alternative product.

Ready to make a move?

Improving your recipe or expanding your meat and meat alternative product range can present challenges and the right equipment is needed to help you bring your best products to market. We offer testing and trials on a range of equipment, and we’re ready to help you meat your standards for meat and plant-based foods.

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