BY KAREN THURANIRA
FOOD EXTRUSION IN KENYA
What is food extrusion?
Food extrusion is not new to you. Trust me!
In food extrusion, different dry foods (soy, maize, rice, wheat etc.) undergo a process involving hypothermal treatment while others are processed at high temperatures. This process involves mixing, heating, cooling, and then pushing the mixture through a die to shape it according to the required shape.
This technology has been used around the world for more than 50 years. Have you visited the cereal section in your local supermarket?
Photo credit: https://victormatara.com/
Not only is this technology used to make your favorite breakfast cereals and snacks, but also applied in processing pet food, feed and several others.
Common Examples of Extruded Products in Kenya
|Cereals||Some common brands; Weetabix, Cerevita , |
|Pastas||Some common brands; Indomie, Numi , |
Now let us look at Some benefits of food extrusion
One of the major advantages of the extrusion technology in food production is how it makes it possible to produce a wide range of Products. Here below are some examples;
- Expanded and 3G Snacks
- Breakfast Cereals
- Pasta Products
- Fortified & Infant Foods
- Textured Vegetable Protein
- Flavour Compounds
- Animal Feed Products
- Meat / Fish Analogues
Energy efficient Production
When extruding food, the ingredients (soy, corn etc.) are subjected through high temperatures for only a short period of time, hence energy is conserved. Furthermore, highly energy efficient extrusion plants are now available. These new plants will be introduced and discussed during the ExtruAfrica workshop in Kenya happening in August from 1st – 3rd. Extruded food can be eaten just by adding some water or milk, cutting down on post-processing cooking.
Additionally, low moisture is required in the food extrusion process, which helps in the drying and cooling stage as lower levels of energy are required. It also requires less water than conventional cooking processes.
Minimal food wastage
During Food extrusion, whole grains can be used instead of refined grains, resulting in less wastage.
When the food is processed and extruded, it gets rid of all the microbial activities that could harm the body. Nutrients can also be added after the cooking process through fortification. As the food doesn’t have to be cooked by an individual, nutrients are not destroyed. As such, consumers get more benefits from the added nutrients which results in increased immunity, allowing them to fight off illnesses and diseases that harm the body. Extruded foods can also improve muscle growth and help people to stay healthy.
The extrusion process doesn’t produce harmful effluents that would harm the environment. The by-product is environmentally friendly as it is biodegradable.
Takes less space
An extrusion plant can be economically designed to take up less space, reducing the fixed costs for a business.
Currently many African countries are faced with an economic crisis. Setting up food extrusion plants will allow local production of food and distribution to communities averting/managing the hunger crisis. There will be increased employment as a result, which guarantees job security as well.
Food extrusion can be a great way to add environmental sustainability and economic stability in a country to improve the living conditions of her people in big numbers.
The final product of food extrusion is a meal that has a longer shelf life and is also packed with nutrients. What a great way of combating malnutrition and food security in Kenya while at the same time combating climate change!
ExtruAfrica Blogspot (2021) – Examining the nutritional aspects of food extrusion
ExtruAfrica Blogspot (2021) – The Environmental Benefits of Extrusion