Saturday, July 17, 2010

Formulations and Processing

Formulations and Processing
For many food products, processing is an important way to preserve the product. However, for some food products, many self-preserving factors, such as the ingredients and their natural properties, play a role.

Three good examples of pickles, barbeque sauces and hard candies. Preserving pickles is not difficult of the end product is very sour (acidic) or tasty. Traditionally, barbeque success have a long shelf life because of the high content of sugar.

Most unwrapped hard candies keep a long time, assuming the environment is at room temperature and not very humid.

Most wrapped hard candies last even longer if the integrity of the wrappers is maintained.

For baked products (cookies, bread), measures against spoilage take second place to consumer acceptance of freshness.

So the objectives of processing vary with the products.

For a processed food products, it is assumed that the processor has a formula to manufacture the product.

In countries all over the world, small family owned food business usually start with home recipes for popular instead of a scientific formula. Most of us are aware of the similar humble beginnings of major corporations manufacturing cola (carbonated), soft drinks, cheeses, breakfast cereal and many others.

When this family business started, there was not much science or technology involved. When a company becomes big and has many employees, it starts hiring food scientists, food technologists, and food engineers to study the “recipe” and refine every aspect of it until the entire manufacturing process is based on sound scientific, technical and engineering principles. After that, all efforts are directed towards production.

Even now, somewhere, a person will start making “barbecue sauce” in his garage and selling it to his neighbors.

Although very few of these starters will succeeds, this trend will continue, in view of the free enterprise spirit of the West.

Although any person can start manufacturing food using a home recipe, the federal government in the United States has partially or total control over certain aspect of the manufacturing processes for food and beverage formulas.

This control automatically affects the recipe, formulas or specification of the products.

Although the word “control” here refers mainly to safety, it is understood that it will affect the formulations to some extent, especially critical factors such as temperature, pH, water activity and so on.
Formulations and Processing

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