The whole food movement has increased people’s consumption of fruits and vegetables. This trend has also led food producers to offer fruit and vegetable powders that are used to flavor and enhance food and beverages. Dehydrated vegetable and fruit powders are more practical than their fresh counterparts for food manufacturing. They have a longer shelf life and some powders like NutriFusion are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
While powders are high in demand, the problem is that most of them exist with bland flavors and washed out colors. This is caused by poor extraction, processing, and storage. The developing food powder industry uses different drying techniques to produce vibrant fruit and vegetable powders.
Sensient Natural Ingredients, a company in Turlock in California, manufactures fruit and vegetable powders. They use methods like air, vacuum, and freeze drying. The drying technique employed depends on the types of ingredients used. For instance, air drying is utilized to dry herbs while vacuum drying is used to retain more nutrients from the dried food.
Challenges in Making Whole Food Powders
Drying fruits and vegetables is not a walk in the park. Several types of fresh fruit and vegetables can be powdered, and manufacturers face a few obstacles. For instance, high sugary foods are difficult to process because they stick to everything. Moreover, the sugar found in sweet fruits can be difficult to deal with in high-temperature drying because they burn even from the start. Drying leafy greens and herbs are also very delicate to handle and are more at risk to spoilage or decay.
The problems encountered during the drying process drive manufacturers to optimize their harvest timing by processing the materials within a short yet specified time frame to prevent spoilage and decay. They also use technology like infrared light to kill pathogens and preserve colors, nutrients, and texture.
The Future of Fruit and Vegetable Powders
Over the next ten years, we will see a lot of fruits and vegetables turned into powder for nutrition, flavor, and texture in our packaged foods. One of the reasons why this trend will continue to flourish is because of the convenience. Whole food powders like NutriFusion tend to last for a long time without losing their nutritional value. They can be used in augmenting the nutrient content of the food that you are cooking or can be utilized as emergency food.
Astronauts will not be the only ones to benefit from powdered fruits and vegetables. The industry is already buzzing with wild dried fruits and vegetables like powdered coconut water, watermelon juice powder, tart cherry, and shiitake mushroom powder. NutriFusion separates itself from the pack by delivering blends of fresh fruit and veggies for optimal nutrition content. In many of our blends, you will find apple, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, shiitake mushroom, broccoli, tomato, carrot, orange, spinach, beet, and strawberry. The combination of those fruits and vegetables can deliver up to 12 different plant-based vitamins for food and beverage brands.
Food manufacturers also see an increasing trend in superfoods being turned to powder. Ingredients like acai berry, Camu Camu, cranberry, goji berry, and acerola will be mainstream in the future. The challenge here for food scientists is how to maintain a high ORAC value (an indicator of antioxidant capacity) despite the drying process.