Freeze your dairy
We recognise in the current situation there are significant demand changes in different sectors of the food industry, and it is important to reduce food waste wherever possible. Dairy products freeze incredibly well, so we’ve written this handy guide on the dos and don’ts of dairy freezing so you can retain as much stock as possible when you’re back up and running.
Ensuring the very best quality of our products is extremely important to us at Arla Pro®. We are committed to providing clear guidance on freezing which maintains the product quality we are proud of.
Our guidance provides clarity on what product categories can and can’t be frozen, the potential impact on quality and steps on how to handle both the freeze and defrost process.
The British Frozen Food Wholesale Distributors and Provision Trade Federations have come together to tackle food waste. Click here to learn more.
• Visit The Food Standards Agency website for lots of information on how to freeze and defrost food safely:https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/chilling
• When freezing packaging there can be an increased risk of splitting, to help mitigate you can put products into an airtight container, if not possible then it is best to freeze products upright where possible and avoid crushing/adding pressure onto packs in freezers
• Defrosting must always be done in a chilled (<5oC) environment to avoid temperature abuse
• Products with a Use-By date should be frozen before the last day of shelf life and used within 24 hours of reaching defrost
• We can give guidance on defrosting times, but this can be drastically different depending on fridge temperatures, airflow and temperature while frozen.
What can I freeze?
• Fresh Milk: Fresh Milk can be frozen. Fresh Milk should be frozen before the last day of shelf life, once defrosted should be used within 24 hours.
• Cream: Fresh Cream/Fermented Creams (sour cream, Crème Fraiche etc) can be frozen before the last day of shelf life, once defrosted should be used within 24 hours.
• Yoghurt: Yoghurt can be frozen before the last day of shelf life, once defrosted should be used within 24 hours.
• Block Butter: For the best results cut the butter into small blocks and place in an airtight container. Defrost in the fridge and consume as soon as possible.
• Blends/Spreads: Spreads can be frozen, for best results put into an airtight container. Defrost in the fridge and consume as soon as possible.
• Block Cheese (Cheddar and other Hard Cheeses): Block cheese can be frozen but for best results grate or cut into small cubes before freezing. Place into an air-tight container or wrap it well in freezer bags. Defrost in the fridge and consume as soon as possible.
• Grated and Sliced Cheese: For best results, place into an air-tight container or wrap it well in freezer bags. Defrost in the fridge and consume as soon as possible.
• Speciality Cheeses: We do not recommend freezing Mould Cheeses (Stilton, Brie and other Blue Cheeses) due to quality.
• Soft White Cheese/Cottage Cheese: We do not recommend freezing Soft Cheese, Cottage Cheese and other Processed cheeses due to quality.
What if I have excess stock?
• If there is a need for advice in freezing a significant amount of excess stock of any category, for example in depot, please raise this to your Arla contact and they will refer each case to the Arla technical team to advise on the best process.
• If there is a need to freeze cases of stock (eg Cardboard cases of cheese) it is recommended to use layer cards/egg-shells to increase airflow both in the freeze and defrost process. It is also recommended to rotate the cases from inside to outside of the pallet to get a more consistent freeze/defrost rate.
• In all cases it is best to freeze a small quantity of stock and defrost as a trial, this is both to understand the freezing/defrost times as well as checking the quality post defrost.
• When defrosting, always do this at a controlled Chilled Temperature, monitor temperature at a regular frequency with a calibrated temperature probe into the middle of a case and ensure fully defrosted before use (consider the internal pallet/case temperature defrost more slowly than the outer packs/cases).
• Products with a Use by date must not be ‘overstickered’ with a new shelf life and must be frozen before the last day of shelf life and used 24 hours after fully defrosted.
Hopefully, this guide has answered any questions you might have. If you need further support please speak to your Arla contact and we will get back to you as soon as possible!