Why Cascading Frying Oil in Foodservice Fryers is a Practice that Does Not Work by Richard F. Stier, Consulting Food Scientist
There are many foodservice frying operations that utilize a practice called ‘cascading’ as a means of managing frying oils. ‘Cascading’ is a process in which the operator transfers the frying oil from one fryer to the next on scheduled intervals. Operators who utilize the ‘cascading’ practice usually have four or more fryers in kitchen operations. The fryer with the freshest oil is used to fry products such as french fries. Typically, at the end of the day, the oil in that fryer will be transferred into a second fryer being used for a food product that is more aggressive than potato products degrading the oil such as fried onion rings. Frying oil from fryer number two is transferred to a third fryer and that to the final fryer [cascading]. In the last fryer, the operator will usually fry products such a breaded chicken or fish. At day’s end, cooking oil in the last fryer is discarded, so the operator will be throwing away a fry pot of cooking oil once a day. The oil will usually be filtered between transfers.
AN ALTERNATIVE TO ‘CASCADING’
Filtercorp has worked with restaurant operators who have used cascading and demonstrated that there are better options. By using a cradle to grave oil management method you can greatly reduce problems inherent to cascading. Fryers are dedicated to specific food products. Oil remains in the same fryer throughout the life of the oil until it is discarded.
A recent operation using the ‘cascading’ system had a battery of six fifty-pound fryers. Using ‘cascading’, they discarded oil a total of forty (40) times per month on average. In other words, they discarded 2,000 pounds of cooking oil per month. By abandoning the ‘cascading’ practice, dedicating each fryer to a single product or a group of products, and adopting the SuperSorb® carbon filter pads as an oil treatment medium, the number of discards in one store decreased from 40 to 21, a savings of 950 pounds of oil. At the time of the study, the cooking oil used in this operation cost $0.58 per pound. Monthly savings amounted to $551 per month or $6,612 per year. Other stores observed similar savings ranging from $2,964 to $6,960 per year.
Not only did the stores save money, but adoption of Filtercorp’s SuperSorb® frying oil treatment program significantly improved product quality, and enhanced operating efficiencies.
BENEFITS & CONCERNS
One of the main reasons that foodservice operators utilize the ‘cascading’ method to manage frying oil is because it is a simple process that can be easily followed. Foodservice operations often struggle with high employee turnover making following operational procedures challenging. ‘Cascading’ method then becomes a simple oil management method. However, it is inefficient and potentially dangerous. Utilizing a cradle to grave oil management method will provide many advantages over cascading such as:
- Reduced oil costs: A proper oil management using cradle to grave can significantly extend oil life there for reducing oil usage
- Less labor: Using a ‘cascading’ process, the oil is discarded at set intervals and transferred daily. Cradle to grave means the oil is never moved until it is time to discarded.
- Consistent food quality: There are certain food products that will degrade the oil much more quickly. For example, french fries are much less aggressive towards oil than a breaded or coated product.
- Reduced flavor transfer: Dedicated fryers using the same oil everyday means yours fries will taste like fries and your chicken will taste like chicken.
- Employee safety: Not transferring oil daily reduces the chance of employee injury or accidental burns.
- Reduced potential food product contamination: Oil transfer between fryers may result in cross-contact and transfer of food allergens between fryer vats, which can potentially end up in the foods being fried. The Food Allergen and Anaphylaxis Research Project at the University of Nebraska reported anecdotal information that fried foods have caused severe allergic reactions and even deaths.
At Filtercorp, we operate on the premise that we are a solution provider for our customer’s oil filtration needs. Your long-term satisfaction is our goal. You will have the results to prove it: cleaner oil, longer lasting, less usage, greater savings – plus consistent quality food. The proof is in the profits and the taste. At Filtercorp, “filtration is what we do, and people are why we do it.”
If you’re currently using the cascading oil method and would like to talk to a specialist about making a switch to improve profitability, contact Filtercorp today!