By Justin Donaldson, Unitherm Executive Chef
Grain bowls are the new healthy fast food, grocery store sushi sales are rising fast, and the prepared foods market is expected to grow 10% this year. These are just a few of the trends contributing to the growing demand for rice and grains.
This demand opens a significant opportunity for processors who supply to QSRs, grocerants, and other outlets to provide cooked rice and grain products. The challenge, as even any home cook knows, is that rice and grains are difficult to cook consistently. At home, you may be willing to live with slightly firm or slightly mushy rice, but for manufacturers with brands to protect, that’s simply not an option. Your customers expect the same quality in every package.
Unitherm’s patent pending continuous process for cooking rice in a spiral oven provides the results you’re looking for and more.
In a continuous system, you can rest assured that every grain is treated in exactly the same way. This is because all of the processing, including both flavoring and cooking, is done at the manufacturer’s facility under controlled conditions, rather than on-premises at the retailer.
In an open water environment, you will inevitably have yield loss. In our continuous process, the rice is cooked in a bag, so you get out the exact same amount of product out that you put in.
The cook-in-bag process also pasteurizes the product. As long as it’s refrigerated, it’s shelf-stable for distribution to QSRs, cafeterias, grocery stores, C-stores, and more. The line employees can then retherm the product in the bag using a small tabletop steamer or use it as-is (e.g., for sushi or salads).
Unitherm’s patent pending process uses a spiral oven to cook rice and grains in a bag. The product is cooked at a temperature just above boiling (220°F/104°C) with 100% humidity, which shortens the cooking time while boosting the quality.
Our spiral oven process works for many different types of rice and grains:
After the rice is cooked, it can be chilled, packaged, and distributed to be used in foodservice or as an ingredient in an RTE meal. It’s that simple, and the results are delicious.
If you’d like to learn more about this process and how it can help you control the consistency and quality of your product, contact us or make an appointment to visit one of our three global solution centers.