The company has installed Advantec impingement freezer technology from Frigoscandia Equipment, which it believes will help it consolidate key markets within the Swedish bakery sector.
Polarbageriet identifies two major factors in the Swedish bread market that have influenced the installation. The first is geography.
"It's true that our market is bigger in southern Sweden," said bakery manager Christer ögren.
"But to relocate to get closer to more customers would be to lose our unique Polar profile. To be able to compete with other bakeries in the South, we have to be better and more efficient."
The second factor is a change in consumer preference. Although the market for the company's ultrathin crisp bread has receded in recent years, appetite for Polarbageriet's slightly thicker soft bread has been growing. The company claims that sales have soared in the past year.
"Our dry, crisp products aren't so dependent on the transport chain," said ögren.
"But our popular soft bread has to reach the consumer superfresh. That's why we need to freeze it."
The company chose the impingement freezer because of its ability to blast away the layer of heat surrounding the product. Controlled jets of refrigerated air can carry this out within seconds.
"Our products hit the freezer directly from the oven," said ögren. "The freezer nips them at once. After one metre they've already stopped giving off moisture, and moisture is critical for product quality.
"In the freezer they're surface-frozen in seconds, instead of 10 minutes. In fact, the entire process from dough to baked, frozen and packaged product is only about 3-5 minutes."
Polarbageriet runs about 10 product variants in the new freezers. Product handling is gentle, so there's extremely little waste. ögren estimates the payback time to be less than three years.
ögren claims that as result of quick freezing and the establishment of an unbroken frozen supply chain, sales have risen sharply.
"We freeze out bread to keep it fresh," he said. "With our distributors, we maintain a frozen chain all the way to the retailer. The bread is only thawed hours before it reaches the shop, so it's as fresh as newly baked."