Food and beverages companies are continuously looking for new innovative ways to increase their sales and market share and for the same purpose they are adding new products in markets. They are also doing it by innovating more professional promotional campaigns. New techniques and methods are invented everyday to increase the quality of the processed food.
Salting and drying are said to be the techniques used by humans to process their food’s freshness and increase its flavor. But nowadays, new and improved techniques have helped in increasing our food supply by extended preserving time. These new techniques delays and sometimes completely stops the rotting process and also increases the variety and the flavor of the available food products.
One such technique used in food processing industry is the “extrusion”. Various processed foods such as all snacks, breakfast cereals, confectionery and some pet food also are now manufactured by using a technique called extrusion. The process of extrusion basically includes compressing the food to make it a semi-solid mass and then passing it through a very small orifice to enhance the variety of texture, shapes and colors obtained from basic food stuff. This technique has given the opportunity to increase the variety of designs, shapes and texture of the same products again and again. In fact this technique of extrusion form and very occasionally cook raw food stuff into finished processed food stuff.
This all is done through an extrusion machine called ‘extruder’. Normally, an extruder contains a power supply to run the main screw, a feeder to push all the raw ingredients in and a barrel to surround the main part i.e. screw. This screw passes on the raw material through and towards a shaped hole and the die from which the shape of the product forms. The good thing about this process of extrusion is that it can be done under very high temperature and pressure and even in a simple non-cooking and forming process. One of the biggest advantages of applying extrusion technology for food production in food processing industry is the fact that it helps in preserving the food products. This process is also used to limit the water related activities of the food stuff. This in turn, checks the growth of micro-organisms and also the spoilage. Therefore, extrusion is considered very useful for production of shelf-stable for and is gaining importance for the production of variety of processed foods such as snacks, breakfast cereals and many types of confectioneries.
We all know that snacks sector is the fastest growing sector in food processing industry and this new technique called extrusion has already made its mark as a source for manufacturing new and creative products. Mostly cereals can be extruded now and all products containing cereals [e.g. bread, breakfast cereals and cakes] can be processed through the technique of extrusion. It is also used to prepare many pet foods.
This technique is very widely used for preparation of food for army, camps, food needed to fulfill some special dietary needs and most importantly feeding during natural disasters and their recovery tenure. The use of extrusion technique has successfully produced new and fresh variety of food products and holds a very big promise to the mankind in future