Markus Löns, international senior sales director for food at Brabender GmbH, said snack makers were turning to small extruder machines to run in-lab trials on new product ideas for easy and fast upscaling.
Brabender’s twin-screw TSE 20/40 extruder was particularly popular, he said, because of its low output – between 0.6 – 20 kg per hour.
“This device tends to be used in the laboratory because they can run it beside the production and if they have a new recipe it can then move onto the big machines. It’s not 100% scalable because of physics, but 80%,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com at Anuga FoodTec 2015 in Cologne.
“Sometimes people ask to use it as a production line, but that depends on the product. We had a request for fish food with medicine inside, for example - then 20 kg per hour is okay. But for snack makers, this isn’t a production line,” he said.
Shaping up health
Asked what the R&D focus for manufacturers was with extruded snacks, Löns said recipe tweaks with alternative flours and grains were popular, as well as fortification using cold extrusion.
Alain Brisset, global key market manager at Clextral, agreed many extruded snack makers were focused on health, particularly in the Middle East and countries like the Ukraine and Serbia.
“Healthy products involve recipe changes with ingredients like fiber or pea and quinoa which are rich in protein, but it’s also about the process. If you can reduce the fat content by passing the frying or having a very quick fry, that’s also part of the healthier product,” he said.
However, he said many were also looking at developing inventive shapes.
Clextral’s vertical cutting system, similar to a pasta cutter, had proved especially popular with snack makers wanting 3D, cup-shaped snacks, he said.
Löns said for the most part, the majority of extruded snack makers wanted to realize entirely new product concepts.