Food extrusion is a form of extrusion used in food processing. It is a process by which a set of mixed ingredients are forced through an opening in a perforated plate or die with a design specific to the food, and is then cut to a specified size by blades. The machine which forces the mix through the die is an extruder, and the mix is known as the extrudate. The extruder consists of a large, rotating screw tightly fitting within a stationary barrel, at the end of which is the die.
Extrusion processing has become an important food process in the manufacture of pasta, ready-to-eat cereals, snacks, pet foods, and textured vegetable protein (TVP). An extruder consists of tightly fitting screw rotating within a stationary barrel. Preground and conditioned ingredients enter the screw where they are conveyed, mixed, and heated by a variety of processes.
The global extruded foods market is expected to grow significantly in the near future. Rapid growth of the processed food industry is expected to fuel the extruded foods market. The increasing investments in emerging economies create the growth opportunities for the manufacturers. On the other hand unpredictable factors, such as global climatic conditions affect the production of raw materials, which can hamper the growth of the extruded foods market.
Extrusion cooking is an energy efficient means of preparing ready-to-eat food and snacks. It offers versatility in terms of ingredient selection and texture & shape of products that can be produced. Extrusion snack food products are prepared using a wide variety of ingredients such as corn, potatoes, tapioca, and others.