Food extrusion has been nothing short of a breakthrough in the realm of food processing. The technology has also led to the manufacture of a lot of food items that were previously unknown to the world.
In this post, we will study the technology in detail and see how it applies in the commercial world:
The extrusion technology
A food extruder is more like a bioreactor that helps you transform raw food ingredients into the desired final product form. This is an increasingly popular production method because it comprises a single manufacturing step.
Every day, thousands of different food products are manufactured this way around the world. These include baby food, high-meat pet food, pasta cookie dough, processed cheese, confections, and a lot more.
In simple words, the extruder is a continuous processing machine. The system comprises either one or two screws mounted on the shafts. These screws then rotate along the barrel for further processing. Whether it’s a single-screw or a twin-screw extruder, both of them carry out the basic food processing tasks.
These include compression, cooking, mixing, shearing, heating, and reshaping raw materials into the desired final product.
What makes the process special?
Extrusion has replaced batch processing across a number of industries. At the same time, it has also laid the foundation for new product development. The availability of this kind of technology has also made it very easy for the food industries to process complex and viscous fluids and powders. You can easily modify the basic processing functions within the unit itself. These include chemical texturization, micromixing, kneading, mixing, and heat and mass transfer.
What are the commercial applications?
Although food extrusion was first used for the processing of grains, fruits, and vegetables, the technology has largely made its way to pet food, cereal foods, and even snacks. Health-conscious food industries are now adding in ancient grains, quinoa, phytonutrients, and food substances with added fiber component.
The technology has also led to the emergence of third-generation half products. These are food products that are initially extruded and later popped and puffed to add different layers of textures and tasting experiences.
Extruded food also comprises texturized meats. These are plant-based food items that mimic the texture, feel, and flavor of the meat.
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