Sweet Snacks and Breakfast-Cereals
Innovative shapes combined with taste and nutrition
With increasing consciousness about healthy eating, cereals, especially extruded cereals, are becoming a standard feature in many households. “Rice-crispies”, “Fruit rings”, “cocoa cereal flakes” are some of the more common extruded cereals. A cereal like product in single piece bite size positioned for consumption alone and as a snack is a sweet snack.
Raw-materials: Unlike many single cereal based conventional products, extrusion can be used to produce multi-cereal products with better nutritional balance. Similarly special nutritional requirements of specific group of consumers can be met through suitable selection of the raw-materials. Extruded products can be made in attractive shapes to increase their acceptability among children and introduce the concept of health with fun.
Process: Production of cereals is usually a multi-stage process.
Pre-extrusion: A single or a blend of multiple raw-materials is moisturised with water or water containing materials to a pre-determined level before being extruded. It is usual for cereals extrusion mixes to contain components like milk-powder, sugar, malt and cocoa powder. The moisturised raw-material is metered into the extruder with the help of screw dosing units.
Extrusion: The raw-material mix is extruded and formed into an expanded and shaped base extrudate. Usually cereals are in small sizes and sometimes require special cutting systems. The texture of the cereals, from soft to crunchy, can be controlled during extrusion, to meet market requirement. It is also possible to produce miniature 3D shapes Schaaf’s patented cutting system.
Pre-drying: The moisture in the extrudate is reduced using a suitable dryer.
Flavouring: The dried extrudate is flavoured using a mass, which has been prepared in a water base. Usually components like, sugar, milk-powder and flavours are suspended in a water base and sprayed on to the extrudate in a coating drum. The coating mass is prepared in a 2 vessel system. After the product has been coated uniformly with the flavouring mass, it may be also sprinkled with dried powder sugar or similar materials.
Final drying: The coated product is dried to remove the moisture added through the coating mass. Schaaf uses special PTFE sheet layered drums and infrared radiators to achieve proper drying of the product while minimising the sticking of the product to the walls of the drum caused due to molten sugar.
Cooling: After drying the molten sugar makes the product lumpy and difficult to handle. The product is then passed through a cooling drum, where ambient air is blown to cool the product and disintegrate the lumps before it is sent for packing.