Sink your teeth into extruded snacks

From fruit snacks to multi-coloured liquorice, extruding and forming take centre stage, says Editor Caitlin Gittins, and the latest ProSweets edition showed how these technologies are adapting

From producing protein enriched bars to multi-coloured chewing gum and liquorice, manufacturers designing new machines for the forming and extrusion space have looked at how they can be optimised to offer greater efficiency, energy efficiency, versatility and flexibility in the form of handling a variety of products. Extruding products such as liquorice, an established, low-cost confection, extrusion and co-extrusion technology has evolved to be more flexible, versatile and handle a wide variety of tastes and textures. 

The rise in popularity of extruded fruit snacks presents a growth opportunity for both producers and machinery manufacturers, by tapping into a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Liquorice, which is an extruded product, has presented itself as the perfect product to experiment with in colours and flavours, helped by the creation of co-extrusion technologies.  

Extruded fruit snacks can pose some challenges to the process, as these are typically created by combining fruit juices and purees of different flavours and may require a high amount of energy to extrude. Additionally, precise ingredient delivery is all the more important – which is where extruders equipped with metering and dosing systems can come in.  

For producers looking to go that extra mile and create extruded fruit snacks with perceived health benefits, creating confectionery products with natural colours can help facilitate clean labelling and reduce the ingredients list. Introducing natural colours into the extrusion process depends on the ingredient delivery, form – whether dry or liquid – and producer’s equipment.  

Extruding and forming at ProSweets 

The latest edition of ProSweets at the end of January 2024 provided an invaluable opportunity to see in person how technologies for forming and extrusion have adapted to meet the demands of customers and consumers alike. Based on the conversations I had with exhibitors on the trade floor, a few words were recurring; flexibility, health and taste. 

At ProSweets, Proform was also on hand to showcase their forming and extrusion technologies. They focus on continuous mixing and blending extruders, to replace traditional batch mixers, which they said was in part due to the homogeneity and regularity of masses they can produce. These extruders are also equipped with dosing devices so raw materials and ingredients can be taken in and transformed into a product mass in a continuous cycle. By reducing operator handling and using automated dosing devices to meter in the ingredients, hygiene is improved.  

One extruder from the company can handle a wide range of products including chewing gum, biscuit or cracker dough, soft candies or the high-fruit content products more consumers are showing interest in. “Our ME Mixer-Extruders can handle manufacturers’ recipes containing 99% or even 100% fruit concentrate or extract,” said Christian Gand, General Manager of Proform.  

The comprehensive range of technologies they offer shows that producers are in need of efficient solutions that meet their varied requirements, added Christian…

Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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