To produce the powders, the company uses a BIRS tower spray drier, which allows a slow and cold drying of fruit and vegetable purees – at less than 50 degrees Celsius – thereby preserving the ingredients’ original properties. The purees are poured into the top of the 75-metre tall tower and a counter current of cool, dry air dries the droplets as they descend.
“Drying puree instead of juice makes the difference in terms of texture and mouthfeel,” said Naturex business manager Frédéric Randet. “For example, the original fibre content of the apple is maintained throughout the process. When pouring into cold water, our apple powder can recreate unique and home-made style applesauce without the use of thickener.”
Compared to hot spray drying techniques, the powders also retain their colour better and have a fresher flavour, and the company says they are instantly soluble in hot or cold water, with better suspension of particles. This is due to the size and shape of the particles produced, it says, meaning that the powders do not need to include any carriers or additives, such as anti-caking agents.
The company says that while hot spray dried tomato powder settles to the bottom of a solution after a few minutes, cold spray dried powder remains suspended.
It says that the powders could be used to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in a wide range of sweet and savoury applications, including baby food, beverages, chocolate and bakery products.