Ready Meals

Holmach has a world leading profile of successful projects with the largest ready meal producers. Chris Holland, Holmach’s Managing Director, has personally pioneered the use of REPFEDs for extended shelf life ready meals in the UK market and sat as chairman of Campden BRI’s heat preserved foods panel for 6 years.

Lagarde has a leading profile as the premium provider of retorts worldwide for products in pots, trays, pouches, rigid, semi-rigid or flexible packaging, handling all of the above without deformation but with an accurate and accountable process. One happy customer recently chose to install a Lagarde Autoclave to retort seafood ready meals in order to give greater time in store and in distribution, which opened up new markets. Initial concerns about the short sharp process impairing product flavour were quickly dispelled, as it was well received by tasters who found the meal to have a smooth well-rounded flavour, even with a shelf-life extension. In contrast to MAP (modified atmosphere packaging), retorting is hugely effective on multi-component ready meals containing both meat and vegetables, where spoilage bacteria can be introduced from a number of sources. Lagarde's retorts offer in-container processing that can be of huge benefit to ready meals producers - as many clients in the UK and Ireland have already found! Jorgensen Engineering work alongside Lagarde Autoclaves to create bespoke solutions to fit semi to fully automatic handling lines for retorts, to increase efficiency in batch production and further reduce costs.

Robqobo manufactures cut-cook-cool machines ideal for the production of premium ready meals. Thanks to its efficiency and operating speeds, the organoleptic properties of the fresh ingredients are preserved in the final product with superior vivid colours and flavours. A leading meals provider to top quality high street retailers in the UK has installed large Roboqbo units for the production of Soffritto, a base sauce for lasagne. 

Holmach has considerable experience in cook-cool systems for ready meals, including one reference site in the UK for mashed potato that cools from hot mix to 8 degrees Celsius in 3 minutes, thereby eliminating heavy loads on blast chillers for potato topped products. The use of cook-cool systems ensures that sauces can be prepared using clean label ingredients before being cooled ready for filling on to chilled meals, avoiding the use of blast chillers again with their high energy requirements and subsequent added costs on the bottom line.

UHDE also offers High Pressure Processing (HPP) systems suitable for ready meals. Through treating materials suspended in water at pressures of 6000 bar. This has the effect of rupturing microorganisms, without the need to heat the product, while leaving smaller particles unchanged. Products can be packed in sachets, skin packs, doy-packs or trays, and any raw ingredients will remain so once treated. It’s particularly suited to products that cannot take any heat, as there is no thermal destruction of enzymes and vitamins, and to high value items such as shellfish.

Please click on the logos for Lagarde, Roboqbo and UHDE below for further information.