14 December 2022
COOK Trading has increased production capacity of its frozen ready meals with the addition of another spiral freezer from mechanical freezing specialist Starfrost.
With three production kitchens in the south of England, COOK produces over 30 million meals per year which are sold in 90 of its own shops and more than 900 independent stores.
Established 25 years ago and inspired by the taste of great home cooking, the business has experienced significant growth in the past three years following the acquisition of new premises and the development of new product ranges. Having decided to invest in new freezing equipment to support that growth, COOK turned again to cooling technology partners Starfrost following a previous expansion project in 2019.
Starfrost engineering teams custom built a mechanical freezing system designed to integrate with COOK’s processing line. Since installation earlier this year, the additional Helix spiral freezer has boosted COOK’s total production capacity by 30% across all production kitchens located in Sittingbourne, Kent.
Ben Walker, general manager at COOK, said: “Choosing the correct freezing process for food products is essential to maintain high manufacturing standards. The freezing process has an effect on processing time and consequently impacts profit margins. It is also key to deliver the consistent product quality we require.
“The choice between spiral freezing and blast freezing - a process we had used before - was made following extensive research and product test trials. The conclusion was that the spiral freezer option would facilitate greater efficiencies in the freezing process and provide consistent freezing. It also removed the need for the trolleys that blast freezing requires, reducing the risk of potential accidents caused by moving trolleys around the kitchen.
“The Helix spiral freezer has enabled us to significantly expand production capacity by 30%. The use of automated equipment means that our production line is continuously moving without interruption and our product quality levels are improved with consistent, non-stop freezing.''