The method can be used to apply different food flakes ranging from fish pieces to cheese to a host of snacks from potato chips and extruded snacks to pretzels and nuts.
“The present invention provides a savory and hearty snack food product with food flakes on its surface that provide a visual impact for consumers,” Frito-Lay wrote in its global patent filing.
“…In certain applications, large three-dimensional bits are desirable because they enable packaged snack chips to emulate another topped product including, but not limited to, a pizza with toppings, a nacho chip or a tostada.”
The method would allow snack manufacturers to develop snacks with a characteristic look, texture and taste that mimics topped-food products. For example, Frito-Lay said a ‘caprese’ style snack could be made with tomato flakes, basil flakes and smoked mozzarella cheese shreds.
The adhesion challenge
Frito-Lay said regular seasoning powders such as salt, cheese powder or onion powder, among others, often separated from snack foods and while use of oils after cooking worked for basic powders, the adhesive strength was still too weak for large three-dimensional bits.
“Consequently a need exists for a method to adhere large food particulates, bits, fragments, flakes, or morsels to a food substrate [snack food] that does not present the drawbacks previously described,” it wrote.
In its patent, the snack maker said its method used either a dairy-based adhesive heated above 105⁰F – 125⁰F to liquidise it or a carbohydrate-based adhesive to blend with the food flakes.
This blend was then applied to the snack food in a seasoning drum or other mixing device and then the topped snack products were cooled to harden the adhesive containing the food flakes.
“The final snack food product obtained by the inventive method thus contains a food substrate, solidified adhesive, food flakes, and seasoning powder.”
The dairy-based adhesion was made using fractions of palm oil, kernel oil or a combination of the two which were then blended with a cheese-based mixture comprised of cheddar cheese, whey, hydrogenated vegetable oil, butter, calcium stearate, buttermilk, salt, disodium phosphate, sunflower oil, natural flavors and artificial flavors.
The carbohydrate-based adhesive was made up using a blend of starches, dextrins, gums, high fructose corn syrup, sugars, surfactants and other compounds.
The food flakes used could be sizable – up to 4-20mm in length, 3-6mm in width and 2-4mm in thickness, Frito-Lay said. “The food flakes should be thoroughly coated with the adhesive to promote optimum adherence to the food substrate,” it said.
Source: WIPO Publication No. WO/2014/149878
Published: September 25, 2014 Filed: March 6, 2014
“Snack food having large surface inclusions”
Authors: Frito-Lay North America – H. Kanafani, JW. Maegli, BJ. Domingo and DA. Schneider