Innovative technology for drying fruit under gentle conditions
The Fraunhofer IVV has optimized a process for drying fruit under gentle conditions which results in preservation of the natural shape, color, and characteristic odor/taste of fresh fruit. The end-product is crispy, homogeneously porous and has high mechanical stability. Vitamins and other valuable ingredients in the fruit remain unaltered, meaning that the products are a healthy alternative to conventional snack products such as potato chips.
For our Brazilian partners in the food industry, the use of this technology could result in a significant increase in the value of fruit as a raw material by converting it into high-cost food ingredients for premium foods. There is also the possibility of making use of already ripe fruit or overripe fruit which is no longer suitable for export (rejects) by drying this via the novel drying process and so commercializing products with considerable added value. This is very important for the highly export-oriented Brazilian agricultural industry.
German and European food producers are currently dependent on expensive, fresh imported tropical fruit because the semi-dry products presently on offer do not meet the high requirements for the gentle drying process. Furthermore, for seasonal fruits there are delivery problems outside the harvesting periods.
As part of a joint research project, technologies will be developed to overcome the issues regarding raw material availability. Processes will be developed which locally convert the fresh goods and rejects into a high-quality form suitable for transport and storage. These materials will then be further processed by German food companies into premium foods using the novel drying technology.
Actually Fraunhofer IVV and ITAL are making some pre-drying experiments with typical Brazilian fruits like banana-prata and abacaxi-pérola. The aim is the optimization of the process to obtain high quality raw materials for the puffing process.