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Did you know the worldwide convenience food market – already generating US$653.60bn in revenue – is expected to grow by more 6.5% between 2024 and 2028, according to analyst Statista? 

With increasing numbers of time-poor consumers seeking easy dining options, entering the convenience market can be hugely beneficial for any food processor – provided you have the right tools in place.

And it’s here that the extremely flexible JBT Alco Linear Convection Oven AGU PRO – a practical solution that is helping convenience food processors across the world/the globe – can make a real difference.

Suitable for steamed, coated, marinated, natural roasting, bone-in, boneless or formed products, the AGU PRO is specifically designed to optimize the production of convenience foods. The oven’s advanced features and capabilities enable food processors to achieve superior results while streamlining operations and maximizing productivity. 

Utilizing two independently-controlled heating and humidity zones, equipped with circulating air-flow technology, the AGU PRO’s design enables precise temperature control and uniform heat distribution to deliver consistent end results. By optimizing airflow, enhancing heat transfer, and improving thermal insulation, energy consumption is reduced, leading to lower operational costs. This not only contributes to significant savings over time but also minimizes environmental impact.

Tapping-in to a growing market

So what is the current state of convenience food market and what are the factors driving its growth?

According to consumer research from Innova Market Insights, a lack of time and energy to cook are the primary reasons for shoppers to choose convenience foods. In fact, one in five people surveyed globally by the company said a “lack of time to cook food” was the principal driver behind them seeking more convenient foods and beverages.

JBT alco Sales Director, Volker Paland, believes the ever-evolving nature of the convenience food market means meeting consumer expectations for quality and consistency is now more important than ever. 

“We understand these challenges and always improve on our equipment to continue living up to the market’s expectations,” he says. “Our Linear Convection Oven for example offers unparalleled precision and versatility to meet the demands of today’s convenience food industry.”

Cooking across two zones

The AGU PRO, Paland continues, helps food processors meet demand for convenience products by providing the possibility to cook in the two different zones. “Having these distinct cooking zones helps processors better control temperatures and dewpoints and thus increase yields,” he explains. 

“Thanks to its construction and optimized air flow, the AGU PRO has homogeneous heat distribution across the whole width and length of the belt, and as a result cooks products from all sides. The two cooking zones also make possible three cooking methods: cooking with hot convection air; cooking with convection air and steam; or cooking with steam only. This variability helps processors flexibly adapt to market demand for convenience products.”

Due to its linear construction, the AGU PRO is ideally suited for small, rounded products such as meat balls and long products, such as meat loaf, as well as everything from burger patties and fish sticks to chicken nuggets and plant-based products.

“The linear convection oven is ideal for uniform cooking and browning, versatility in product processing as well as consistent food safety and quality,” adds Paland. “Thanks to the homogenous temperature distribution of the AGUPRO, all products are browned evenly and of course have the same core temperature.”

LEARN MORE about the JBT Alco Linear Convection Oven AGU PRO