vegan power bowl on a yellow background with The Best Manufacturing Equipment For Vegan Ready Meals

The Best Manufacturing Equipment for Vegan Ready Meals

The adoption of a vegan diet has gained tremendous popularity with as many as 6 percent of U.S. consumers identifying as vegan today. Even those who don’t follow a fully vegan lifestyle (flexitarians) are consuming more plant-based options than ever before. Why is veganism on the upswing in North America? There’s no one answer but there are several factors that seem to be fueling the trend:

  • Healthresearch linking the consumption of animal products to severe health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer has been shared widely on social media platforms and in the media.
  • Environmental Awareness – as consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of traditional animal agriculture and its role in climate change, they’re choosing to take the necessary steps to aid in the prevention of further irreversible damage.
  • Innovation & Availability of Vegan Food – from Oatly to Just Egg and the Impossible Burger that made its way to the Burger King drive-through; there is seemingly endless innovation happening in the plant-based foods space right now and these products are taking center stage in the restaurant, grocery and ready-meal industries

To meet the growing need for vegan or plant-based food offerings, which have seen sales soar over the last two years, manufacturers must learn how to automate and update their food production processes.

What Is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet consists of eating only foods comprised of plants and avoiding any animal products or by-products such as meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. For some, the choice to be vegan is a dietary choice, while for others, it is a lifestyle choice based on ethics or environmental concerns. Considering that vegan food processing must be sensitive to cross-utilizing equipment – sterilization between batches of food or having completely different setups for your vegan ready-meals may be necessary.

Today, vegans have a wide range of specially prepared vegan foods to choose from. With the plant-based technology catching up to mimic the taste and texture of real meats and cheese, even non-vegans are enjoying the benefits of these alternative vegan foods.

DC Norris Manufacturing Equipment for Vegan Ready Meals

While many vegan foods are raw, plant-based vegetables, nuts, beans, or fruits – the trend for convenience and ready meals is rising which requires manufacturers to offer a variety of well-seasoned options accompanied by sophisticated sauces, preparations and flavors. Vegans continue to seek out meat and dairy alternatives; a trend anticipated to see continued growth.

If you are looking to scale your process to meet the needs of preparing vegan-ready meals, consider the benefits of DC Norris Cook Chill equipment. The DC Norris Cook Chill equipment and systems can safely and efficiently cook and cool vegan-ready meals to meet the growing demand. 

What is Cook Chill?

It is a simple, controlled system of advanced food preparation designed to provide more flexibility in foodservice. Also known as ROP ‘Reduced Oxygen Packaging’ the term ‘cook chill’ can apply to any form of food process, where the food is cooked and then chilled for delayed serving. It is used daily in home kitchens, prized restaurants and full-scale industrial food processors.

The Cook Chill concept is a 5 step process:

  1.     Food is prepared in bulk to the required doneness
  2.     Food is rapidly chilled to 40F, immediately after cooking minimizing contamination risk and extending shelf life.
  3.     Food is stored under precisely controlled temperatures.
  4.     Chilled food is transported in bulk, or as pre-plated meals to a central service location.
  5.   Chilled food is re-thermalized or bought to serving temperature at the point of service.

The DC Norris Cook Chill equipment that will assist with your vegan ready meals include:

Cook Quench Chill:

A three-bucket system designed to cook rice, vegetable, and pasta products automatically. This system is perfect for adding the rice or pasta component to any vegan-ready meal.

Cook Chill:

Providing products that are cooked and then rapidly chilled helps stop bacterial growth and increase shelf life. Products cooked using the Cook Chill technique retain their quality, taste, and texture. Components cooked with this method will add additional flavor and provide additional shelf life to your vegan-ready meals.

JetCook™:

This high-speed cooking and mixing system uses a direct-contact heating process to cook foods. Mainly used for pumpable food and beverages, JetCook™ is your solution for creating perfect dairy alternative milk products. Capable of simultaneously heating, mixing, and inducting powder or additives with no moving parts makes the finished product consistent and cooked perfectly every time.

With the vegan food demand on the rise, investing in the right DC Norris industrial cooking and cooling equipment will help your business create delicious, safe, high-quality products.