The preservation process must begin as soon as fish is harvested; without rapid chilling, fish will begin to break down and lose quality as soon as it perishes. Whether onboard a fishing vessel, at a fish pond, or at an on-land harvesting site, DeepChill is used to quickly reduce the internal temperature of the fish, halting any bacterial growth and preserving the peak condition of the fish. The fish is then transported to the processing facility in totes or tankers filled with DeepChill.
DeepChill is used at multiple points throughout the processing phase, beginning with receiving the fish upon arrival from the harvesting site. It’s crucial that the optimum low temperature of the fish be maintained for the duration of this phase to maintain peak quality.
Fish are unloaded, washed, and then go either directly to processing or are stored in totes of DeepChill for later processing. Workers at processing facilities have found that fish that are kept cooler by DeepChill are firmer, making them easier to work. Yields are often increased and wastage reduced as workers can get more meat off the bone of DeepChilled fish compared to fish cooled using traditional methods. In addition, product stored in the bottom layer of totes of DeepChill are not at risk of being crushed like in a conventional system, where fish and hard ice are piled in a tote and the weight damages the product at the bottom.
When the processed fish is ready to be packed and shipped, they are placed into boxes that are then moved to a DeepChill ice slurry delivery station. The simple delivery and control of this station allows easy integration and automation. Each box is filled about two thirds of the way full with DeepChill, ensuring that our customers’ valuable product arrives at its end destination in peak quality.
Yamahon Corporation has been a leader in the fresh fish market in Japan for over 15 years and was looking for way to maintain its competitive advantage. In this highly competitive market, quality is the key to success, and is very difficult to maintain. According to the company’s President Mr. Haruo Yamamoto, “We stay ahead of the competition by continuously innovating and implementing the best technology available.”
In 1999, Yamahon integrated a DeepChill system into their existing processes and introduced a new line of fresh saury to the market cooled by DeepChill. “We worked with Sunwell Technologies to develop a fully integrated DeepChill ice system for our operations. From pre-chilling to processing to packing, DeepChill keeps our fish fresh.”
Upon arrival, fish are rapidly cooled down to 0°C in pre-chilling tanks containing very liquid DeepChill ice. The chilled fish are then sorted, separated by size and placed in totes where a thicker DeepChill slurry is used to preserve the chilled fish until further processing.
Fish are removed from the totes and placed into styrofoam boxes that move along a processing line to the DeepChill filling station where they are filled with a thick DeepChill paste in 2 seconds. The filling station is programmed to handle different sizes of boxes and the amount of DeepChill dispensed is precisely measured. Once full, the box is ready to be shipped to market. Any unprocessed fish is simply stored in DeepChill for the next day’s production with no loss of quality, allowing for a smooth operation of the facility and no overtime hours.
Yamahon was able to gain substantial market share as a result of using DeepChill throughout their entire operations. Mr. Haruo Yamamoto, President of Yamahon, reported that, “From pre-chilling to processing to packing, DeepChill keeps our fish fresh. Our DeepChill branded fish sells faster at the market, and at a premium price.” At the market, Yamahon’s DeepChill branded fish sold at a premium of 10-15%, the profits from the premium being $5-7.5 million. President Yamamoto stated, “Overall sales increased, making 1999 one of our best sales years ever”.