Whether it be on top of a hamburger patty or as part of a pre-packed sandwich, bacon is a commonly-found and popular ingredient for fast food and convenience snacking, but a failure to hit that expected ‘real bacon’ taste can seriously dent repeat purchases. Achieving the correct consistency, appearance and flavor has been one of the successes driving the growth JBT’s bacon processing range; a success story now driving an increasing expansion into the poultry industry.
The Formcook Contact Cooker and the Double D Revoband Continuous Protein Oven are two leading solutions from the JBT family of companies which have found favor with bacon processors for their consistent ability to deliver just such quality on a consistent basis, explains Bart Kivits, JBT’s Manager for Portioning, Coating and Cooking Applications.
“Pre-cooked bacon – cooked bacon used by fast food restaurants for putting on their sandwiches – is quite popular at the moment, but it can be quite laborious, so that’s why there’s quite a lot of interest in having it pre-cooked. A lot of customers are looking for good solutions that can deliver good quality bacon.”
“There are three ways used to cook bacon: in a microwave; in a hot air oven; and the third is a Teflon belt cooker,” Kivits continues. “We supply hot air ovens and Teflon belt cookers to make bacon in a continuous way. We don’t however supply microwave cookers because the quality of the bacon is completely different – it’s the same as when you use a microwave at home, it gives it a glazed, pale appearance, which is not very appealing to most customers.”
Instead, the Double D Revoband Continuous Protein Oven employs hot air blown at 250-260C over bacon slices, fully cooking it and resulting in a very appealing, slightly wrinkly appearance, very much like homemade bacon.
The other option JBT offers is the Formcook Contact Cooker, a system which Kivits compares to a grilled cheese sandwich maker, which has Teflon on both sides.
“The Formcook Contact Cooker comprises two conveyor belts made of Teflon – the same stuff you find in your frying pan at home – and in between them is the bacon,” he says. “We keep that belt at 250C, you squeeze the slices of bacon in between those belts for 60 to 90 seconds and then it comes out fully cooked before being flow-packed, principally for fast-food restaurants.
“The cooker can also recover 100% of the fat produced by the bacon which has quite a lot of value, meaning there’s a big benefit for the processor.”
However, the Formcook Contact Cooker is not just used for cooking bacon. Kivits says the system is becoming increasingly popular for pre-cooking poultry products, such as chicken breasts, where it has been found to lessen yield loss by 4%.
“We will be displaying at the IFFA 2019 show, but if any European customer wants to see one in action, they can also visit our food technology centers in Helsingborg, Sweden and Livingston, Scotland,” he concludes.
JBT will be exhibiting at IFFA 2019 in Hall 8.0, Booths G06 and H06 at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition halls from May 4-9, 2019.