Thawing with emerging technologies process intensification

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General information

Raw materials (e.g. fish and meat) may be received in frozen state. Thawing will then be needed before further processing is carried out. Thawing is widely applied in fish and frozen meat processing and it is used in some other sectors such as the production of ready-to-eat meal

(European Commission 2006)

Further Information: Thawing in food industry

Description of technology, techniques and methods

High Pressure Processing (HPP)

Thawing process are also a source of damage for processed food. With HPP a minimization of loss of texture and colour due to thawing is possible. The fundament of the process is based on the decrease of the melting point of ice, enlarging the temperature difference between the source of heat and the frozen sample (enhanced driving force, process intensification). Potential change in physicochemical properties is still possible. Two main processes: Pressure assistant (increase of temperature at constant pressure phase transition, ice to water) and pressure induced (increase of pressure to initiate the transition and further increase of temperature at constant pressure). HP assisted thawing is recommended. There is also the collateral benefit of liming effect of pressure of microbial growth.

(Muredzi, 2012; Tao, Sun, Hogan, Kelly, 2014)

Further Information: HPP


The technology enables a minimization of microbial growth, of chemical deterioration, of excessive drip loss and dehydration, by reducing the processing time. There are issues of uneven or runaway heating (some parts cooked, some still frozen). There are successful cases for Sauces.

(Ozkoc, Sumnu & Sahin 2014)

Further Information: microwaves

Radio Frequency

Food thawing assisted by RF heating is surely faster than conventional thawing. Hot spots can be a major disadvantage of a RF thawing system. Optimization methods can help designing better RF system for thawing purposes.

(Uyar et al, 2015)

Further Information: radio frequency

Changes in the process

Energy saving potentials

Energy Savings are possible from the reduction of the operational time due to the different ways of thawing enabled by new technologies in combination with the conventional ones.

Changes in the energy distribution system

General substitution of thermal energy for electricity.


  • Muredzi, P. (2012) 'Chapter 1: High pressure processing technology', in Aleman, M. (ed.) Emerging Non-thermal Food Processing Technologies. USA: CBH books, pp. 19-57.
  • Ozkoc S., Sumnu G., Sahin S. (2014) 'Part IV: Alternative thermal processing: Chapter 20 Recent Development in Microwave Heating', in Sun, D. (ed.)Emerging Tehcnologies for Food Processing. UK: Academic Press, pp. 361-377.
  • Tao, Y., Sun D., Hogan E., Kelly, A. (2014) 'High pressure processing', in Sun, D. (ed.)Emerging Tehcnologies for Food Processing. UK: Academic Press, pp. 3-20.
  • Uyar, R., Bedane, T., Erdogdu, F., Palazoglu, T., Farag, K., Marra, F. (2015) 'Radio-frequency thawing of food products – A computational study', Journal of Food Engineering, 146(February), pp. 163-171.