With demand for convenient, nutritious and organic vegetables on the rise, the operations team at Sno Pac Foods, Inc., Caledonia, Minn., realized that they needed a more efficient and higher capacity freezer to keep up with the pace of production, yet leave room for future growth.
The Sno Pac brand was created in 1943 by Gengler's grandfather, Leonard Gengler. He owned farmland around Caledonia, as well as a cold storage warehouse, and began freezing fruits and vegetables. Thus, Sno Pac was born. As chemical pesticides and herbicides became increasingly popular in the 1940s, Leonard resisted. Instead, he adhered to sustainable agriculture principles.
About a year ago, the organic grower and processor replaced its previous 35-year-old Frigoscandia tray freezer with a new state-of the-art FLoFREEZE IQF Freezer from Sandusky, Ohio-based JBT FoodTech.
The need for speed was key, says Pete Gengler, Sno Pac’s president.
“We are running the same products as we have in the past, but we increased our speed. For peas, for example, we’ve gone from about 5,000 pounds of production to about 8,000 or 9,000 pounds in that same time frame,” Pete reports. The improved throughput has allowed Sno Pac to effectively extend its season, he adds.
Besides speed and capacity, uptime has been another major benefit of the new freezer. “We increased our run time because we don’t have to defrost halfway through the day anymore. It saves an hour and a half at least,” Pete notes. The company runs two shifts a day, and the freezer is in use for 18-20 hours daily. This extended runtime has reduced operating costs, especially the use and disposal of defrost water.
The FLoFREEZE is well suited for Sno Pac’s needs, according to Chris Hanssen, western region sales manager for JBT FoodTech. “The air defrost system continuously removes frost from the evaporator coil with compressed air to extend production. This method saves space by eliminating redundant coils, replacing sequential defrost and quickly changing over the freezer in two to four hours every night rather than fully defrosting and shoveling out snow during a full weekend. These features really helped Sno Pac extend its production runs and maximize uptime,” he remarks. “The FLoFREEZE also offers the flexibility of combining fluidization, pulsation and agitation to reduce sticking and clumping of products like sliced and diced carrots.”
Pete says that in the year that the new FLoFREEZE IQF Freezer has been running at Sno Pac, operations have been smooth and efficient. Thanks to ongoing consumer interest in organic vegetables, he adds, that higher capacity likely will come in handy. “The market for organic products has been growing and it looks like it will continue to grow,” he predicts.
For more information about the FLoFREEZE IQF Freezers or other solutions for freezing, chilling, cooking, coating, frying, filtration, portioning and slicing, contact JBT FoodTech at 419-626-0304 or go to www.jbtfoodtech.com.