Managing Frozen Foods in Food Trucks
Refrigeration is an indispensible part of our life, and is arguably more important to frozen food transporters. Food truck entrepreneurs understand the essentiality and significance of refrigeration for their business because the quality of the food is tied directly to its refrigeration. Food supply is a regular operation and many businesses, restaurants, supermarkets and exports are dependent on this cold chain service. However, keeping the food frozen and within a safe temperature range is not as easy as one might think though. Integrating a refrigeration system into an insulated, appropriately designed truck requires a prerequisite need of installing a specific electrical system.
Food trucks operators power the refrigeration system while they’re on the road, through high powered battery banks or generators. In some states of the United States, generator powered freezer trucks aren’t legal, in which case, truckers rely on the handy battery bank. In other states, it’s alright to drive generator powered freezer trucks, as long as they’re well ventilated.
Mounting generators on the outside of the truck is widely practiced. Some smaller freezer trucks can safely run on the truck battery only, since they require a mere 12 volts power to operate. However, you can’t really hook up a commercial-sized refrigeration unit to the truck battery, since these monsters consume at least 120 Volts to operate. The trucks nowadays are engineered so well, that they retain their compartment temperature long after the refrigeration is turned off. A full freezer can potentially maintain its temperature for up to 48 hours. This gives the truckers a lot of breathing space, because the immediate consequence of anything that went wrong with the truck wouldn’t be food spoilage.
Food quality and food safety is primarily dependent on maintaining the temperature of the cabin that matches the right storage temperature of a particular food item. Any fluctuations in temperature can result in decreased food quality. Ice cream is one very commonly transported frozen food item. Did you know that ice cream texture is very vulnerable to heat shock and change in temperature? Thawing the ice cream, then freezing it and thawing it again can cause ice crystals to form which changes the texture and even taste of the ice cream. It is important to know the best way to thaw and defrost the food to ensure that the finished cooked food doesn’t lack any of its signature characteristics cherished by the line of customers.
For food trucks, another management hurdle that they have to handle is maintaining a uniform consistency in the workers operation. Their day to day operations must be as efficient and swift as possible to optimize the output of the food truck, which happens to be the reason we don’t have to wait too long in food truck lines. You must design an SOP for the workers that prevents cross contamination and maintains the temperature of frozen foods.