More and more retailers are turning to commissaries, central kitchens and other offsite facilities to supply their fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

“Food processors have gained popularity in commissary kitchens as staff seek to maximize existing labor,” said Carolyn Bilger, marketing director for Hobart Food Equipment Group. “Like many kitchens in recent years, commissaries struggle to find skilled labor, so having a machine that can quickly process products is key.”

Continuous feed processors, she added, can far outpace manual cutting and they provide consistent quality cuts.

Customers also are looking for more grab and go products to accommodate for busy schedules. Commissaries that can provide pre-packaged, cut fruits and vegetables, Bilger said, can help grocery stores increase sales.

Hobart’s FP300i and FP400i continuous feed food processors are ideal for commissary kitchens that need to process high volumes of product.

Recognizing that commissary and other high-volume kitchens have different processing needs, Hobart introduced the FP300i in March 2023, Bilger said. It bridges the gap between a lower-volume countertop food processor and the much higher capacity FP400i food processor offered by Hobart.

The FP300i can process up to 88 pounds of product per minute and the FP400i has a capacity of 132 pounds per minute, and both are maximum heavy-duty floor model machines that can be customized with various feed and cylinder options, according to application.

The FP300i comes standard with a stacking feed cylinder that has an interwall to stack product against for consistent processing, Bilger said. The FP400i can also be fitted with a cutting feed cylinder that has three knives to process large, round vegetables like lettuce or cabbage.

Hobart has made a manual feed pusher available for both food processors (standard on the FP300i), as well as a tube feeder for processing long, narrow products, and a bulk feed hopper and cylinder set for processing round products. Both offer the ability to slice, grate, shred, dice and julienne product.

Hobart food processors are constructed of removable stainless-steel parts, so the cylinders, push feeders and cutting tools can be thoroughly cleaned in a dishwasher.

That, Bilger said, minimizes the risk of foodborne bacteria. In addition, both machines have fronts that are positioned at a 50-degree angle, which make it easier for operators to load the machine and reduces fatigue.

Hobart offers over 30 cutting tools and three pusher feed options for the FP300i and FP400i, so commissary kitchens can customize their machine for specific applications and gain greater processing versatility.

This article is an excerpt from the January 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Fresh-cut Produce feature and more in the digital edition here.