We sat down with Jerad Ducklow, EVP, Sales & Marketing, Parker Freeze Dry, a Division of ProForm Fabrication, in Winsted, Minn., to discuss their freeze dry equipment that is compatible with high pressure processing (HPP) technology.
About Parker Freeze Dry
According to the company, in 1998, Bob Parker discovered a need in the marketplace for freeze dryers that could process a high volume and remain efficient. The testing began shortly after a prototype was designed in 1999. Many lessons were learned regarding recipe development and the intricacies of the freeze drying throughout the process. In 2005, the team that would later become ProForm Fabrication became a valued member of Bob Parker’s supply chain as he worked towards the founding of Parker Freeze Dry as a company in 2006.
Over the next decade, the teams worked together refining the manufacturing process. Parker presented the ProForm Fabrication team the opportunity to acquire the assets of Parker Freeze Dry in early 2020. The combined team of previous Parker employees and current ProForm Fabrication employees continue to work to Parker as a leader in the commercial freeze dry industry with unsurpassed industry knowledge and experience, constantly evaluating trends and opportunities for continuous improvement on an already proven concept.
For more information, visit https://parkerfreezedry.com/.
Parker 10-R Freeze Dry Equipment
Q&A with Parker Freeze Dry
Q: How is Parker Freeze Dry equipment used in raw pet food processing?
A: Typically, the processor will run the product through the HPP process prior to freeze drying. HPP has shown significant success in the removal of pathogens from products. Freeze drying is the next step to keeping the product “clean” or shelf stable. When processed in the order described, the freeze-drying process creates a light, shelf-stable product that is ready for packaging.
Q: What are the benefits of freeze drying?
A: Freeze drying creates shelf stability by achieving as low as 2% moisture content in many products. Much of the pathogen growth can be limited by the lack of moisture. Additionally, the freeze drying process allows for a much greater level of retention of the nutritional value of the product being dried versus the traditional heat drying methods.
Q: Is there a consumer demand for freeze dry pet food over traditional heat-treated kibble?
A: The pet humanization trend is creating a demand for consumables that have greater health benefits which freeze dried products tend to have. The demand is growing as people search for a pet food product that has a greater nutritional value than the traditional offerings.
Q: What’s on the horizon/future trends for freeze dry pet food?
A: We are already seeing many startup entrepreneurs providing new freeze-dried pet food and treat options. These entrepreneurs are now able to create nutrient-rich pet food and meet the demand created by the pet humanization trend. Many of these new pet foods and treat providers are able to build a loyal customer base. Parker is in the process of offering a solution to allow these groups to grow from a smaller operation to an industrial-sized processing facility. The market will see more product offerings, which will ultimately create better products for consumers.
Q: Is there anything new in technology or automation in pet food processing?
A: There are always new additions to the current designs to make the systems better. Some of the improvements that Parker Freeze Dry is considering will allow for a greater return on investment through automated functions. Some options will focus on the reliability of the systems, and others revolve around the ability to validate the product to be within the specifications that the processor is looking for.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your company, HPP or freeze dry pet food in general?
A: Parker Freeze Dry has and will continue to invest a considerable number of resources to provide processing equipment that enables processors to create the products that the market is looking for. Pet food providers have realized that the customer is looking for something better and we want to provide the equipment to give their customers better options.