Extrusion processing opens up a world of possibilities for creating a variety of whole-grain snacks. Some of the popular options include:

Expanded snacks and breakfast cereals

Using twin-screw extrusion, processors can produce a range of healthy expanded snacks and breakfast cereals. This technology allows for the creation of crispy, expanded products with an open cell structure, distinct from traditional whole-grain formulations. By adjusting the ingredient mix and processing parameters, advancements in die and cutter designs enable the development of innovative product shapes, textures, and density combinations.

Filled snacks

Filled or co-extruded snacks offer a delightful combination of a crisp cereal shell and a soft filling. Processors can incorporate whole-grain flour into the cereal shell, adding a healthy benefit to these consumer favorites. With pre-engineered dies, manufacturers can create a variety of shapes, including bars, pillows, nuts, balls, and triangles. Fillings can range from fruit puree, jelly, and creams for sweetened snacks to cheese and meat for savory products.

Breakfast cereal and flaked snack products

Cereal flakes have become a popular choice for breakfast and between-meal snacks. Twin-screw extrusion allows manufacturers to produce whole-grain flakes for breakfast cereals or incorporate them into snack blends. This economical alternative to traditional processing methods offers advantages such as faster manufacturing time, reduced space requirements, continuous production systems, quick start-up and shut-down procedures, and simplified maintenance. Additionally, twin- screw extrusion provides greater ingredient flexibility and higher product consistency.

Crunchy nuggets and inclusions

Breakfast cereal, snack, and bakery manufacturers can enhance their products with the nutritional benefits of whole grains through crunchy nuggets and inclusions made by extrusion. These can be added to nutrition bars, breakfast cereals, snacks, granola mixes, and bakery products. The twin-
screw extruder processes the whole-grain ingredients at the required pressure and temperature to form the dense, crunchy texture, while the die shapes the product into the desired shape. Inclusions can be designed with specific attributes such as size, color, flavor, density, and texture, offering endless possibilities for creative and delicious whole-grain snacks.

The incorporation of whole grains into extruded snacks has transformed the market, providing consumers with delicious and nutritious options. Twin-screw extrusion technology has revolutionized the production of whole grain snacks, enabling the creation of crispy and expanded products that offer an authentic mouthfeel. With advancements in extrusion technology and innovative formulations, the future of whole grain snacks looks promising. As more research and development in the field of extrusion takes place, manufacturers will continue to meet the growing demand for healthy and tasty whole grain snacks that contribute to a well-balanced diet.

For relevant conferences and workshops regarding food & feed extrusion, visit www.ExtruAfrica.org.za. The next available course is taking place in August 2023, in Kenya. This course will focus on the applications of extrusion for developing countries. It is focused on technical and practical applications of extrusion and presented by international industry expert, Prof Mian Riaz from Texas A&M University.