Most foods contain very high percentage of water. Microorganisms thrive when there is water, spoiling the food and altering its taste. Removing water keeps food from spoiling for long periods of time. Also removing water makes the food lighter, making it easy to package and transport. Yet, removing water, must not alter the composition of the food. Its basic structure and composition of its nutrients must remain intact.
Freeze-drying, technically known as Lyophilization, is a process of sublimation where water molecules in a solid phase are directly converted to vapor phase. Since Lyophilization is the most complex and expensive form of dehydration, its use is usually restricted to delicate and heat-sensitive high value materials.
Over the period it has gained importance as it is found to be a process that is least damaging to various product characteristics like colour, aroma, texture shape, nutritional content and size etc. It is thus particularly suitable for delicate, heat-sensitive and high value materials. Freeze-dried products once sealed to prevent the reabsorption of moisture can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration, and be protected against spoilage for many years. Freeze-dried products can be rehydrated (reconstituted) quickly and easily and become as fresh as they were when freeze dried. Since Freeze Dried products are light in weight they have an added benefit of easy handling while usage and transportation.
Freeze drying is one such method. The scientific principle in freeze-drying is sublimation, the conversion of a solid (ice) directly into its gaseous form (water vapour). A typical freeze-drying machine consists of three major components - a freeze-drying chamber, a freezing coil connected to a refrigerator compressor, and a vacuum pump.
Frozen Food is increasingly becoming popular among consumers in India. Thus, due to demand it is a good project for entrepreneurs to invest.
Few Indian Major Players are as under
• Agro Dutch Inds. Ltd.
• Amalgam Foods Ltd.
• Classic Mushrooms Ltd.
• Flex Foods Ltd.
• Himalya International Ltd.
• Kohinoor Foods Ltd.
• Ovobel Foods Ltd.
• Saraf Foods Ltd.
• Tarai Foods Ltd.