The big food and beverage companies are constantly looking for new ways to increase their market share and sales by adding innovative products to the market. New methods and techniques are conceived daily, so as to increase the quality of their processed food products.
Drying and salting is ancient methods used by humans to retain their food’s freshness and flavour. Nowadays however, new and improved techniques are helping to increase the food supply – simply by extending the food’s preservations periods. These new preserving methods delays, or completely halts the rotting process. It also increases the diversity and flavour of available food products.
One such preservation method is called ‘extrusion’. Innumerable processed foods like breakfast cereals, snacks, confectionery are now produced by using a technique called extrusion. The procedure of extrusion basically entails compressing food into a semi- compact mass, which is then passed through a small opening /orifice to enhance the variety of colours, shapes and textures obtained from basic food products. This innovative technique has presented the opportunity to increase the variety of shapes and texture from a single food products.
This is all done by a machine called an ‘extruder’. Generally, an extruder comprises of a power supply, a feeder and the main part – the screw. The screw pushes raw food material through a shaped hole – which form/shapes the final product. The biggest advantage of using extrusion technology in food processing industry is the fact that it helps to preserve food products for long periods. The extrusion process is also employed to limit the water needed in certain food products. Consequently, this curbs the growth of microbes and prevents spoilage. For these reasons, extrusion is seen as extremely useful for the production of shelf-stable foods. It is also gaining importance for the production of processed foods like cereals, snacks and numerous other types of confectioneries.
This is telling, because the snacks sector is the fastest growing areas in the food industry, and extrusion technology has already made its mark as a producer of new and innovative food products. Nowadays, it is also used to produce numerous types of pet food.
The extrusion technique is widely used for food production for the army, camps, or foods needed to fulfil some special dietary need. The use of the extrusion technique has successfully produced numerous new varieties of food products and should continue to do so for years to come.
This article was provided by food lover & art enthusiast, ScribeZA, for a South African based Food Comapny.