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Pellet snacks, or snack pellets, are intermediate products which you can further process and develop into snack products for consumption. Pellet snacks production involves mixing, extrusion, frying, and packing. Since these are intermediate products, final product customization will depend on your customer’s desired product and flavor profile.

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A multitude of processes and end products

Common base ingredients for snack pellets include cereals, potatoes, corn, wheat, and grains. In addition, you can add functional ingredients to increase the nutritive value of your pellet snacks, such as high fiber and high protein fortificants. With these, you can mix and match the base and functional ingredients to achieve the pellet snack profile you or your customer desires.

The shelf-life of your pellets relies heavily on your frying process and its parameters due to its effect on your product moisture and rancidity. Selecting the correct frying technology would help you optimize the snack pellet production process while maximizing your product shelf-life. Continuous conveyor fryers are the best choices for continuous systems.

In addition to the technology, how hot and how long you fry contribute to your snack’s final profile. The correct combination of these coupled with your raw ingredients and snack shape determines how your snack pellets will turn out after processing.

Experimental encounters in extrusion

Extrusion is the core process of pellet snack manufacturing. How you extrude your raw material determines how the final snack pellet behaves. Machine parameters such as pressure, temperature, and die-cut allow you to design your product based on the customer’s needs.

The use of lipid in your extrudate greatly and indirectly affects the final quality of your snack pellet. The amount of moisture in your intermediate product factors into your final snack pellet texture. Using the correct oil amount during snack pellet production will help avoid defects from improper moisture content during your snack pellet production. A study showed that a range of 4% to 6% oil in your extrudate results to desirable snack pellet properties. Quality issues such as lack of crispiness, shape deformation, and cutting imperfections can then be avoided if you use the correct amount of oil.

Trimming your snacks’ fats

De-fatting your snack pellets increases its appeal as a healthy snack alternative. One of the most common methods to remove oil is by using de-fatting belts and air knives. The process is essential to ensure the snack crispiness is maintained and shelf-life is prolonged by preventing rancidity.

De-fatting belts allow excess oil from the surface of the pellets to drip through the conveyor. Vibrations applied by the conveyor further hasten the removal of oil. You can then collect and re-use the dripped oil for succeeding snack pellet frying. Air knives can further remove the oil through application of the right velocity and volume of air pressure, with the maximum as high as 40,000 ft/min, to the snack pellets after frying.

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