Wholesale Air-Dried & Wholesale Freeze Dried Food Suppliers and Manufacturers
What is Food/Ingredient Dehydration? We’d like to offer you an education so you can appreciate the nature of our largest product categories.
Dehydration is the process of removing water from an entity, usually for the purpose of preventing spoilage by bacteria which are sustained by the presence of water, or for the purpose of decreasing the weight of an entity. Dehydration is typically accomplished by any of three methods: Air Drying, Freeze Drying, and Spray Drying.
Many food product innovator’s will need to decide which process is ideal for their application. So what is the difference between air drying and freeze drying? Or how does one evaluate freeze drying vs. spray drying? Why is freeze-dried product so costly? Which foods are often spray dried, only?
Air-Drying is just that- allowing the material to dry in the most natural of ways, often with the aid of a heat source that when applied to the product, removes [most of] the water; a significant element of the composition of most foods. This is the simplest and most cost-efficient method of dehydration. However, the heat involved in this process is likely to alter the natural characteristics of the food, as would any cooking process.
Freeze-Drying is an innovative, while more costly process by which the moisture in a food is frozen, and subsequently converted directly to gas form, without first becoming a liquid. This change is the process called sublimation, and is facilitated by altering the air pressure in the environment of the treated food.
RayTM Pilot Plant Freeze Dryer by GEA
Skipping the liquid stage in the process of converting solid to gas avoids the change of properties that occurs in heat applied dehydration and cooking. Thus original properties of the solid are maintained, while having removed [almost] all hydration, creating lengthy shelf life and a fraction of the original weight. Simple reconstruction of the original form is accomplished by introducing a small amount of water
Spray-Drying is the process by which heat is applied to a sprayed liquid solution of the product to be dehydrated, and thereby, a powder is formed and the water is vaporized. This process is ideal for foods that are more water based than others, making the air drying process a cumbersome process with sub-prime output.
Sample Spray Drying Machine by MecKey® Machinery
The concept of sterilization and treatment is not just for lab technician’s to be aware of. Food innovators must have a handle on this too, in order to properly assure the safety of their product as well as the shelf life and other factors.
Why do food ingredients need to be sterilized? Is ingredient sterilization an added perk or indispensable?
Many products require sterilization treatment to lower or eliminate the level of unwanted microbiological substances that naturally develop. Such substances can pose health risks and diminish the shelf life of their host material. Any one of several methods may be employed to achieve this cleansing, including:
-ETO (ethylene oxide)
So what are the differences between Irradiation and Steam Treatment? What is ETO treatment? Is Irradiation treatment a safe method of food sterilization? How should an innovator choose between Irradiation vs. Steam Treatment?
Irradiation is the most common form of sterilization, especially in the US. USDA policy maintains that irradiated foods do not pose health risks and are certainly not to be considered radioactive. Irradiation is effective in reducing microbes in numerous products categories and its use is common in most developed countries.
ETO is a common treatment choice in the case of spice products. It involves a chemical process that disrupts the reproduction of microbes. Many question the safety of using this chemical in food sterilization and therefore prefer other methods.
Steam/Heat treatment is seen as the safest method with minimal chemical or radiological residue. The sophistication of this method makes it the most costly, as well.
It is important to note, that a number of products are naturally sterile or low in microbes, and therefore do not require treatment. The levels of microbes that are deemed safe and acceptable depend on the particular intended application of the product as well as the government regulations in the place of production or marketing of the product.