Custom Processing Services Blog

How to Solve 3 Top Challenges in Food & Pharmaceutical Industries Blending

Jen Lepore, Mar 25, 2024 7:15:00 AM

tumeric powder and capsules

As the demands of food and pharmaceutical industries blending grow, the intricacies of industrial blending jobs intensify. Each added ingredient may introduce variations in particle sizes and material characteristics that affect the ways ingredients act and interact as they are subjected to blending forces. Pharma and nutraceutical blending or food ingredient blending — in the wrong hands — can result in a clumpy, slimy, or degraded batch of lost product.

Many food and pharmaceutical customers face issues handling, loading, blending, and effectively tapping out finished products. They must ensure a perfectly homogenized blend without agglomeration, material degradation, or out-of-spec particle sizes.

An expert toll processor has the equipment, deep technical skills, and materials handling experience to meet the demands of blending in pharma and overcome three of the toughest industrial food blending challenges:


Running small-scale or pilot trials for research and development or process refinement calls for machines that can effectively blend small batches. A range of blenders from 75L to 7,500L can enable you to scale processes up and down, whether you’re running a trial to prove out a concept, troubleshooting a process step, or gearing up to full-scale production — while meeting production timelines and specifications.

In industrial food blending, necessary equipment may demand inaccessible staffing or capital investments. For instance, a moisture-sensitive material could necessitate an expensive drying unit. This is where a toll processor provides an immediate advantage, saving not just on cost, but also on the time needed to research, purchase, deliver, install, and fine-tune new equipment. 

Every upgrade your toll processor has already made translates to greater access to exactly the blending equipment you need, when you need it, without long lead-times or ramp-ups. They also know the ins and outs of each machine, so you can tap their expertise for optimizing outputs instead of searching for information or using a costly trial-and-error approach.


The very nature of the food ingredient blending process, which incorporates multiple materials in the correct ratios to achieve a homogenous blend, poses significant material handling challenges. Particle characteristics that complicate blending can include:

  • Heat sensitivity
  • Moisture sensitivity
  • Abrasiveness
  • Friability
  • Susceptibility to oxidation
  • Danger of particle degradation
  • Agglomeration
  • And more

A food ingredient blending job can include many steps. For example, a job may require pre-blending, followed by extrusion blending, drying, milling the dried extrusion, and then a final screening step. Specifications can include particle size, moisture, ingredient amounts and ratios, and homogeneity, all of which demand advanced equipment and a deep understanding of material science to manage effectively. 

Ingredients in food, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical blending formulas can include binding materials, like those used in time-release formulas, as well as silica- or cellulose-based flow agents and fillers. The wide range of particle characteristics involved in some blends can require adept and practiced handling, such as coating, encapsulation, or using nitrogen at necessary points in the process to prevent degradation.

Your toll processor’s team of technical advisors can run small-scale trials to hone equipment parameters and establish set points, ensuring that they protect sensitive and high-value materials before scaling up to production-level machinery.

Taken in total, a toll processor’s capabilities are essential in avoiding supply chain issues and other complications on the path to market. Any product can be affected by these obstacles, but it’s particularly important to avoid delays when it comes to trending products. Being late to enter a competitive market such as nutraceuticals — currently estimated to be worth $317.2 billion — could mean missing out on profits.1


Even the most in-demand facilities, equipment, and advanced food and pharmaceutical industries blending expertise can only achieve their value when a toll processor’s customers trust them — and that trust is based on transparency and communication.

When you bring your specifications to your toll processor, you should expect them not only to meet them, but to prove it using and documenting approved procedures and testing protocols. You should anticipate walking together through an onboarding checklist to ensure that both parties fully understand each other’s expectations, from initial receipt of raw ingredients to final packaging formats and sizes.

You should expect upfront and transparent communication about quality assurance and documentation required for compliance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) — and more important, quality and safety.


Expertise and trust are essential for receiving a final product that meets your specifications. The right toll processor should deliver a sense of security that they’ll value and protect your investments in R&D, formulation, marketing, material sourcing, and more. 

Discover how to assess toll processors for blending expertise in both food and pharmaceutical industries with our comprehensive Blending for Pharmaceuticals Guide. Just click the link below to download your copy. Download Now!


1Grand View Research, Nutraceuticals Market Size & Trends Analysis Report By Product, January 2024

Posted in:BlendingPharmaceutical