Lutosa frozen french fries and cut potato products facility
Reception of raw material – Control – Sorting – Washing - Stone removal
Upon arrival, the potatoes go first to the agronomy department for inspection. From there they go to the sorting centre, where they are calibrated and sorted into the required quality and size for each specific type of product (fries, flakes, specialities). Lastly, they are thoroughly rinsed with water and any stones present are removed.
1. Peeling – Washing – 1st laser optical sorting
The potatoes are steam peeled, before being washed in water. The discarded potato skins are used for livestock feed. The next phase is optical laser sorting, which consists of inspecting the peeled potatoes to remove any with subcutaneous defects or any foreign bodies such as pieces of wood, potato tops, etc. An optical sorter equipped with cameras, backed by a laser system, does this automatically. Damaged potatoes and/or suspect objects are expelled using compressed air.
2. Cutting – calibrating
The potatoes are either cut into shape for fries using canon cutters (powerful pumps that force the potatoes at high speed through a grille in which the mesh size can be varied according to the thickness required), or sliced or diced using rotating cutters (for Sauté Potatoes, Rissole Potatoes, etc.).
After this, they are calibrated by thickness and length: fries of the incorrect thickness or length are removed. These are redirected so as to be used as an ingredient in the production of flakes.
3. Second optical sorting
The fries and the sliced or diced potatoes are inspected by cameras that can trigger the removal of any product with suspicious blemishes (black spots). The faulty product is immediately ejected using compressed air.
Blanching is carried out under a stream of hot water injected with steam in order to:
- Deactivate the enzymes;
- Modify the structure by partially gelling the starch;
- Standardise the colour by extracting the reducing sugars.
5. Drying - Homogenisation
The potatoes are then dried in a flow of hot dry air in order to limit fat absorption and make the product crispier. The subsequent rest period is designed to homogenise consistency and remove the remaining moisture from the product.
6. Coating and flavouring
This phase is optional: the cut potatoes are immersed in a solution of spiced or unspiced starch to produce items like Spicy Wedges or coated French fries.
7. Cooking and fat removal
The fries are cooked in vegetable oil (palm or sunflower) - GMO-free – for between 60 and 90 seconds at a temperature of 160-170°C; the fat is then removed using hot air or hot water.
8. Cooling and freezing
The fries go through successive cooling tunnels to bring them to a temperature of 0°C. They then go through a freezer tunnel at–40°C to cool them to a temperature of –18°C.
9. Third optical laser inspection - Final calibration - Weighing
Before being packaged, the product is checked and calibrated one last time to ensure that it conforms to specifications. It is then weighed prior to packaging.
Packaging is fully automated. The fries are packaged into polyethylene bags and automatically placed in recyclable cardboard boxes. Each line is capable of packing the whole range of weights (from 400gr to 5kg) and is equipped with:
- A built-in scale.
- An automatic bagging machine.
- A metal detector.
- A device for detecting poorly sealed bags.
- An automatic boxing system.
- A weight checker (bags and boxes)
- An HD inkjet marker.
11. Palletisation – Hooping – Labelling
The pallets are then formed, hooped and labelled, so that they can be traced automatically by scanning the individual bar code on each pallet.
The pallets of finished products are kept in cold stores at a temperature of
The production of pre-fried chilled French fries differs from stage 8 through packaging in a protective atmosphere.