Food tech sees extrusion investment for new products

Related tags Snack foods Food Food industry Us

As players in the food ingredients industry strive to add value to
their portfolio and fight off pressurised margins, a new initiative
in the US aims to bring a raft of new solutions to food makers.

Research projects underway at the new government-funded centre in Pennsylvania include snack foods, cheeses, texturised proteins and meat substitutes.

Scientists at the Center of Excellence in Extrusion and Polymer Rheology (CEEPR) "work to create processes for converting corn and other grains into food and nonfood products. The waste streams from these processes will provide working materials for CEEPR projects."

The US food technologists​, for example, have developed a method to modify whey proteins, making them more compatible with starch and easier to puff.

The centre features a modern pilot plant for new product development - from concept to prototype - and eventually to full market production "through technology-transfer collaborations."

According to Charles Onwulata, a food technologist in ERRC's dairy processing and products research unit and CEEPR's coordinator, the food industry uses rheology equipment to help determine the form, deformation, and flow properties of melted materials, as well as the texture of resulting products.

As Onwulata says, the rheology of the product in the extruder affects the structure and texture of the finished product."

According to the food technologist, the centre is forming partnerships with industry, other research agencies, and universities to push forward development work. He recently worked with the US agency for international development to create an extruded instant emergency food product that needs no further cooking.

Onwulata is also developing new ways to use whey proteins to enhance the nutrition content of extruded crunchy snack foods.

Related topics Science

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