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Common questions, How-to's, Microwave Technology

How Are Microwaves Used To Cook Bacon?

The Industry & Process

Much of the precooked bacon in the world is processed using large microwave bacon cooking ovens, most of which carry our logo (see the product page for the continuous MIP11 cooking system). Over the decades, we learned that many first-time clients have questions about the process and the various components of a bacon-cooking microwave line. The retail market for bacon is over 4 billion USD as of 2013 and continues to grow. Accordingly, we developed a presentation to use when explaining the process to them. We encourage you to download it here, but we’ve also highlighted some key components below:

Microwave Components
(Pictures of each are included in the downloadable presentation)
  • Bacon CookingPower supply
  • Magnetron
  • Circulator
  • Water Load
  • Applicator
  • Stirrer
  • Waveguide
  • Suppression system
  • Control box
Microwave Processing Variables
This high-volume MIP11 produces more than 500 kg/hr of cooked bacon.
This high-volume MIP11 produces more than 500 kg/hr of cooked bacon.

(Explanations of each included in the downloadable presentation)

  • Belly temperature
  • Slice thickness
  • Number of slices per minute
  • Product density on belt
  • Belt speed
  • Microwave power
  • Ventilation

The History Of The Industry

The 1970s
  • Continuous microwave precook bacon equipment introduced in the late 1970s
  • Early operations were niche operations producing custom product for HRI customers
  • The equipment was relatively crude
    • Slicing was done at slow speeds – approximately 200 slices/minute
    • Available microwave power – 100kW
    • Packaging was done by hand
The 1980s
  • By the mid-1980s major food companies took an interest in the process and requirements grew
  • Equipment manufacturer meet the challenge by introducing:
    • High speed 3-lane slicer – 750 slices per minute
    • More powerful microwave systems – 300kW
    • Some packaging area automation – conveyors
The 1990s
  • Microwave precook installations reach 50 worldwide
  • Equipment manufacturers now offer
    • Slicing equipment operates at 1,100 slices per minute
    • Microwave power increased to an average 450kW
    • Automatic case packing
The 2000s
  • Precook bacon sales spike up dramatically
    • Retail packaged bacon introduced to the public
    • Widespread acceptance in the fast food industry of using precooked bacon as a flavor enhancer
      • Precooked slices and bits
    • Microwave precook installations reach over 100 worldwide
  • Equipment manufacturers now offer
    • Slicing equipment operating up to 2,000 slices per minute
    • Microwave power exceeds 800kW per system and ventilation optimization introduced
    • Slicing, microwave and packaging equipment controls integrated into more unified system
Today
  • Retail annual bacon sales we’re over US$2 billion in 2006
  • But in 2013, bacon sales climbed 9.5% to an all-time high of nearly $4 billion
  • Forty-four percent of in-home bacon usage is precooked

If you are interested in a quote or more information, please contact us!

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