CUICK

Stir-fries and CUICK bases
Company: CUICK
Foundation: 2018
Location: Tordera, Barcelona (Spain)
Activity: Preparation of ready to use stir-fries and minced food products
Distribution: Spain and Andorra
Model: TERRA Food-Tech® vertical autoclave CFS-110V

CUICK was born from the concern of two entrepreneurs from Barcelona, Gaston Chritin and Albert Camprubí, interested in healthy food and seeking to open their own business.

They knew first-hand how difficult it is to eat well without having almost time to cook and without incurring in excessive financial expenses. Therefore, they thought of a way to save time for those people who like and want to cook, facilitating the process of preparing something so important in any dish such as a stir-fry. They same reasoning applied for restaurants. And it is that in hostelry there is a trend of simplification and professionalization of what is cooked. Increasingly, this sector works with fewer staff and requires more simplicity and agility in the kitchen. So you need to have preparations that save work and time, but not compromising quality.

Based on this analysis of the market and their interests, they decided to make natural bases for cooking stir-fries and minced food products, to save time while cooking, both for individuals and professionals.

These were the triggers that from their facilities in Tordera led them to offer various types of stir-fries. In addition, they also make minced pistachios, pine nuts, ñora and saffron. All its products are without additives, colorants or preservatives, they come directly from local producers in a sustainable way.

“We have detected, and the pandemic has further accentuated this trend, that there is a population group that increasingly looks at what it eats, that wants to buy products of superior quality while knowing its origin and traceability … Families that bet for a quality diet but sometimes they have little time available to cook. We decided to make life easier for these groups by saving them a time-consuming task with a product of the highest quality. And the same thing happens in the hostelry industry, there is a tendency to simplify and professionalize the elaborations, they now look for agility in the kitchen.”

Gaston Chritin de Miquel, Founding Partner at CUICK

Problem: creating healthy bases and stir-fries to save time in the kitchen

CUICK stir-fries and bases made with TERRA Food-Tech autoclaves

When starting CUICK, its founders did not have in mind to start a canning business, moreover, canning was never the main objective when creating their company. Hence, the use of a different container, the pouch, a bag or flexible container that protects food from moisture, oxygen and light and that can be pasteurized / sterilized, away from the traditional glass container. They understood and understand CUICK as the essential 100% vegetable base to prepare healthy and rich dishes.

That same ambition to offer high-quality stir-fries from which to cook healthy food, quickly and easily, was at the same time its greatest difficulty. This was due to their firm intention of avoiding sterilization processing or more abrasive thermal processes, since they did not want their stir-fries to lose any flavor, color, texture or smell.

Challenge: how to preserve its bases to guarantee a long shelf life without altering its organoleptic properties

CUICK stir-fries and bases made with TERRA Food-Tech autoclaves

Obviously, their core challenge was solving the puzzle of conservation. The founders of CUICK were clear that they wanted to pasteurize their bases and, at the same time, ensure a long shelf life, but without requiring refrigeration and without altering its organoleptic properties .

Although they knew it was too much to ask, they did not give up because they were aware that, since their sauce was a 100% vegetable product, reaching these goals was feasible. As their stir-fries do not contain meat, fish or shellfish, less aggressive thermal processes can be used.

Solution: subject CUICK bases to a pasteurization process

CUICK stir-fries and bases made with TERRA Food-Tech autoclaves

They achieved great success with their idea. To do that they thoroughly studied the pH of the ingredients and the percentage of moisture that remained in the product, among other elements. And from that they were able to customize a pasteurization process through a Po value adapted to their products. And the truth is that they did very well because now they can offer a food product with superior quality, with room temperature storage and with a shelf life of 12 months.

“The work of the autoclave is essential because if it did not perfectly pasteurize our vegetable bases, everything done before would be of no use. It plays a central role, that is why we have dedicated a lot of time and effort to find the pasteurization times that best suit our products.”

Gaston Chritin de Miquel, Founding Partner at CUICK
CUICK stir-fries and bases made with TERRA Food-Tech autoclaves

Being able to achieve these objectives has made it possible for CUICK, in a matter of only two years and due to its tremendous sales success, to be forced to use a much bigger industrial autoclave. They attribute its growth to the quality of their products and the upward trend of preserved food products. Both in big supermarkets of any city and in local markets, the shelf space dedicated to Ready to eat food products is increasing. And this is because there is a real demand, as Gaston explains, “… even if you like to cook, sometimes you simply don’t have time and you must use ready meals and preserves. And if these allow you to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, then much better.”

“I would recommend TERRA Food-Tech® especially to those initiatives that want to start with everything that is pasteurization and sterilization processes. TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves are ideal for companies that are in a nascent phase, small producers or for those who have a pilot plant.”

Gaston Chritin de Miquel, Founding Partner at CUICK

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