Sous vide has been around since the mid-1970s, but many consumers and even professionals in the food industry are still learning about the advantages of this unique, yet simple, technology. And as more people get educated, sous vide’s popularity continues to grow — including in the grocery perimeter and among the central kitchens, commissaries and suppliers whose products are sold there.
One of sous vide’s big advantages for the 21st century consumer is its combination of convenience and quality. In sous vide cooking, food is first packaged in a vacuum-sealed bag. Then it’s cooked at a low and consistent temperature in a water bath, with the temperatures and cooking times varying depending on the food.
Sous vide got its start as a way of preparing big amounts of food on an industrial level. That’s the convenience side.
Nowadays, sous vide’s ability to deliver the highest quality has put it squarely in the foodie world, with chefs on shows like “Top Chef” and “The Taste” and at some of the nation’s top restaurants using it.
According to Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods’ 2019 “Trendtellers” report, sous vide is one of the hottest food trends in the nation.
Sous vide chicken takes flight at retail
Oakwood, Georgia-based Wayne Farms recently completed a trial of its Naked Truth Premium Chicken at Sam’s Club stores in 19 states.
Naked Truth chicken is fully-cooked, flame-grilled chicken breast made via sous vide technology. The product offers “superior texture, moisture, flavor, convenience, as well as Step 2 animal welfare certifications through the Global Animal Partnership,” according to Wayne Farms.
“This product provides more than just an amazing culinary experience. It also offers responsibility, transparency, and all of the features that premium chicken products should offer,” says Tom Bell, Wayne Farms’ vice president and general manager of prepared foods.
Each individually-wrapped, fully cooked five-ounce Naked Truth chicken breast fillet features authentic grill marks and sous vide preparation, making it simple to finish in a microwave, conventional oven, or sauté on a cook top, without drying out—a hallmark and key advantage of sous vide cooking.
The all-natural product contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives, nitrates, nitrites or gluten.
For retail instore applications, Orange, California-based Minipack America offers delis and prepared foods sections vacuum sealers to complete the first stage of the sous vide process.
One of the latest innovations from Minipack is an in-table sealer born out of a simple need among the company’s customers, says Joe Sielski, president.
“A lot of chefs tell us, ‘I just don’t have the room’” for another piece of equipment in their kitchen, Sielski says.
The 31D VacSmart in-table machine looks just like a drawer in a table. When pulled out, it’s a fully functional vacuum packer, with a touch screen that can be programmed to ask users questions to ensure accurate use, a built-in labeler and other features that separate Minipack’s equipment from the competition, Sielski says.
A new app from Minipack, meanwhile, lets users do everything they could formerly do only on the machine itself, remotely. It can turn on and run the machine and even automatically submit a HACCP plan to state regulators, Sielski says.
Minipack vacuum packers features seamless chambers, pop-out seal bars, temperature probes, trays for liquids, thermal label printers, PDF eLogs, interactive displays, deep chambers and leg extensions for easy cleaning.
Also on the equipment side, Walnut, California-based Tuxton China’s new Chef Series Sous Vide Pot was recently named a 2019 IHA Global Innovation Award finalist. Made from thick-gauge triple-clad material, the multi-use tri-ply stainless steel 9.8-quart pot is designed to fit most sous vide devices or double as a stock pot.
With a first-of-its-kind secure lid, the Tuxton sous vide pot has an adapter portal that will accommodate most available sous vide devices to secure the device upright and better maintain the water temperature, according to the company.
In addition, most immersion blenders will also fit in the adapter portal to prevent splatters while blending. And by making use of the innovative stopper, the Tuxton sous vide pot also can be converted into a premium stock pot when not being used with a sous vide device, allowing chefs to use less cookware.
“Compared to alternative container and cover methods, results show that water in the Sous Vide Pot reaches its goal temperature an average of 30 percent faster and requires 6 percent less kWh energy to maintain heat, which can save owners approximately $150 per year in power bills,” according to Tuxton. It can also save 400 gallons of water per year.
“We know our customers are looking for cookware that is functional but that also fits in with their lifestyle and we are honored that the IHA has named it as a Global Innovation Award finalist,” says Stuysonnie Lam, Tuxton product development manager. “(It’s) the perfect vessel for healthy and tasty sous vide cooking.”
Tuxton showcased the pot at the International Housewares Show in Chicago March 2-5.