Custom Processing Services Blog

6 Advantages of Flash Drying in Food Processing

Justin Klinger, May 24, 2023 9:37:57 AM

Man working at a food processing factory.

Moisture can spell disaster for food ingredients.

The predominant threat is to food safety, since harmful bacteria and mold can quickly multiply in products with moisture content that exceeds the limits set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

There’s also food quality to consider. Too much moisture can cause chemical breakdowns that strip away nutrients and also adversely affect texture, taste, smell, and appearance. Shelf life could be cut short — leaving OEMs to lose profits and credibility.

The criticality of moisture balance is exactly why flash drying is the preferred method for processing food ingredients and products. Partnering with an experienced toll processor is the best way to maximize the capabilities and advantages of flash drying.

What is flash drying?

Principally, a flash drying system disperses the wet raw materials into a heated gas (or air) stream that rapidly moves the raw feed particles through a drying duct. The heat and movement within the recirculating loop breaks down particles, flashes off (evaporates) surface moisture, and dries the material.

The process itself is relatively simple. What makes flash drying particularly valuable is its flexibility in raw materials adaptability and range of applications.

3 Advantages of Flash Drying Versatility

Of the toll drying services available, flash drying is a standard practice in many industries because it can accommodate a range of raw feed characteristics, temperatures, capacity, particle sizes, and even agglomerated material. Raw feed can take the form of powders, filter and centrifuge cakes, or slurry feed — even heat-sensitive materials can be flash dried without degradation.

The combination of raw feed flexibility and moisture control appeals to food OEMs because it helps control food safety and quality by:

  1. Preserving nutrients since the technology is less harsh than traditional drying and requires that ingredients spend shorter times in the actual flash dryer equipment
  2. Meeting customer expectations on food products’ look, taste, and mouth feel
  3. Improving shelf life by consistently keeping moisture content in ranges that inhibit bacterial growth, thereby minimizing the risk of contamination and/or spoilage

3 Operational Advantages of Flash Drying

Since the process isn’t overly demanding in terms of particle size and shape requirements, flash drying also translates to operational benefits for food OEMs:

  1. Increased productivity: Batches can be small, large, or somewhere in-between, which means needed ingredients can be efficiently produced in the quantities needed, typically in less time and at a lower cost
  2. Higher yield: The process generally results in little overall product loss
  3. Environmental sensitivity: Less energy and fewer resources are consumed during flash drying as compared to other methods

Every day, millions of people consume food without consciously assessing quality and safety — until something goes wrong. Food OEMs can’t be in the position of fixing missteps that never should have happened. Flash drying is an indispensable solution for creating food product ingredients that are reliable, safe, and grant peace of mind for consumer and OEM alike. 

The key is working with a cGMP-certified toll processing partner that has expert capabilities in particle size reduction to achieve product formulation goals through flash drying and other milling methods. Learn what to look for, and the efficiencies you can gain, using our guide, Milling Methods for Food and Pharmaceuticals. Click the link below to download your copy now.

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Posted in:Drying