New prawn coating system promises a sea change in shellfish products

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Related tags: Flavor

Grimsby-based BB Prawns is using a newly-developed method of cold coating prawns in a wide variety of flavours in a drive to bring much-needed...

Grimsby-based BB Prawns is using a newly-developed method of cold coating prawns in a wide variety of flavours in a drive to bring much-needed added-value to prawns and prawn products.

The company has been working with German-based flavour company RAPS and has developed a number of flavoured coatings, including cheese, madras curry, marie rose and salsa. It has also just developed a garlic coated prawn which it hopes will be used in sandwich manufacture within the next couple of months.

The system, developed in conjunction with equipment manufacturer BOC, uses liquid nitrogen in the application of the coating. Prawns are placed at the top of a cylindrical tank, which resembles a cement mixer, and which then drop through a number of sprays which apply the sauce and through a curtain of liquid nitrogen. They are then immediately packaged.

A major benefit of the system is that it enables prawns to be easily coated with multiple layers of flavouring, says factory manager David Pinkney. The system can apply a minimum of just 1mm of dressing and so prawns can be re-coated a number of times to deliver some very interesting combinations, he says.

Pinkney believes the system will revolutionise the shellfish industry, which he says has been crying out for added-value products over the past few years. "The one thing missing in prawns is value adding -- hardly anything has been done in this area," he says. "There is lots of excitement about value-added prawns."

The prawns, which have been designed for foodservice and sandwich manufacture, also provide a healthier option to traditional prawn-in-sauce formats, says Pinkney. As the coating is applied directly to the prawn, there is no need for it to be accompanied by any additional mayonnaise, which is used by sandwich makers as a flavour carrier. So, for example, manufacturers can make a healthy option prawn marie rose sandwich without mayonnaise, he says.

BB's ultimate aim is to offer up to 57 flavoured prawns in pre-pack frozen format. It is also developing new coating types such as a raw tempura batter that is applied directly on to the prawn. While cooked tempura prawns are on the market, this would be the first raw tempura prawn that consumers could cook themselves, says Pinkney. The company is now developing a tempura batter recipe that will be able to withstand the low temperatures of the liquid nitrogen and high temperatures of microwave cooking.

Related topics: NPD

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