Extruded corn snacks are among the most commercially successful extruded foods. Extrusion cooking is the process extensively used for the production of snacks which are mainly produced from corn (maize) i.e. cereal flour or starches. Corn snacks are often marketed, packaged, and flavored in a similar way to potato crisps.
History of Extrusion Process in the Snack Food Industry
The history of extruders is traced in the 1870s when the machines were developed to manufacture sausage. However, the application of the single screw extruder evolved during the 1930s, when it was used to mix semolina flour and water to make pasta products. At the same time, corn curls were first extruded in the snacks food industry. It was also used in the process of making ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals to shape the hot and pre-cooked dough. The first patent on an application of twin-screw extrusion technology was filed in the mid-1950s. Since then, its application has widened and grown dramatically. From there the use of extruders came into being in a variety of ways, such as their use for second and third-generation snacks.
What is Extrusion Process & its Products?
Extrusion is a manufacturing process in which certain materials are forced, under pressure, through a die opening to create products of the desired shape, size, and/or texture. Everyday examples of extrusion can be seen when toothpaste is squeezed out of a tube, icing is pushed out of an icing bag and corn snacks of specific shapes are made.
In the case of food production, if the food is heated by external heaters during the process, it is referred to as extrusion cooking, a relatively new and advanced food processing technique. Due to its processing flexibility, extrusion cooking produces an incredibly broad range of snack food products, most notably in the corn (maize), cereal, dairy, bakery, and confection industries.
The process of extrusion permits the mass manufacturing of food through an endless, well-organized system that guarantees the similarity of the end product. Food products which are manufactured using this method typically have very high carbohydrate and starch content full of energy in them. These food items comprise many breakfast cereals, some pasta, bread, rough vegetable protein, ready-to-eat snacks, cookie dough, fat soy, confectionery, and certain pet foods, baby foods, and beverages. Presently, consumers are extra careful about their snacking habits and are gradually embracing healthy snacking foods such as extruded snacks due to the benefits offered by them related to metabolism.
Why extruded corn snack is the most preferred food products for food industries & consumers?
The most common cereals used for snack products are corn (maize), wheat, rice, and oats. In these, corn is the most widespread and popular raw food used for expanded snack products. The reason behind corn used widely for extruded snack products is because of its availability in general everywhere, low cost, and it expands well even from the simplest of extruders machine used for making the snack products on low cost that make it available to consumers on low price.
Why extruded corn snack foods are hot selling products?
Extrusion cooking is one of the most popular processes to prepare snacks and ready-to-eat foods by using a variety of ingredients such as corn, tapioca, oats, potatoes, wheat, etc. After extrusion, these snacks are processed and converted into semi-cooked or pre-cooked food products. This helps in the elimination of toxins and micro-organisms produced naturally while making these snacks healthier as well as safer for consumption.
Consumer interest in ready-to-eat (RTE) snack foods is growing due to their convenience, value, attractive appearance, taste and texture. Cereal-based extruded snacks are the most commonly consumed snacks. Extruders can blend the diverse ingredients used to develop novel snack foods as per consumers’ preference and demand.
Why is the demand of extruded corn snacks food increasing in African & Gulf/Middle East countries?
The global snack food market is expected to grow from $210.4 billion in 2019 to $215.9 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7%. The low growth is mainly due to economic slowdown across countries owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to contain it. The market is then expected to recover and grow at a CAGR of 7% from 2021 and reach $264.8 billion in 2023.
The Asia-Pacific was the largest region in the global snack food market, accounting for 56% of the market in 2019. Asia-Pacific comprised of approx. 48 countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, etc. North America was the second largest region accounting for 25% of the global snack food market. Africa was the smallest region in the global snack food market.
Till date MENA i.e. Middle East and North African countries have not shown the rate of snacks food products growth as seen in other regions of the world. Therefore as per market survey report there is optimum scope of snacks food products increasing demand and growth in Gulf/Middle East, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Iran, Iraq, etc. and African countries.
The global extruded snacks market is estimated to account for USD 48.3 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 71.7 billion by the end of 2029. If these figures hold true, the market will exhibit a CAGR of 4.2% between 2019 and 2029. Asia Pacific is likely to be the major revenue-generating region in the global extruded snacks market.
In recent years, extruded snack foods have witnessed strong demand in the MENA region. According to the latest report by IMARC Group, titled “Middle East and North Africa Extruded Snack Food Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2020-2025”, the MENA extruded snack food market reached a value of US$ 2,166 Million in 2019. This data indicates that the Middle East and African countries have very little market penetration of extruded snacks food mainly of specialized category of corn (maize) and other cereal snacks products.
In the MENA region, rapid industrialization and urbanization have resulted in a significant shift towards western food cultures. This mode of changing and shifting to adopt wester foods specially snacks and ready to eat (RTE) remains one of the primary forces catalyzing the growth of extruded corn snacks food market in the Middle East and African countries. On account of the rising number of hypermarkets and supermarkets, the availability of these snacks has become much easier, further boosting demand in Gulf and African countries.
In addition, the Gulf and MENA regions represents one of the fastest growing populations across the world. The above factors along with low median age groups and rising disposable incomes have positively influenced the growth of this market. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the MENA extruded snack food market to exhibit a growth depending on new business investment in snacks food industry and market exploitation of their potential during the next five years. Country-wise, Saudi Arabia represents the largest market, holding the majority of the MENA extruded snack food market share at present. Saudi Arabia is followed by UAE, Egypt, Iran, Israel and others.
Driven by customers demand, Grace Food Processing & Packaging Machinery has developed a processing solution for corn extrusion. Recent R&D work has allowed company to develop a specialized corn snacks extruder which features one processing chamber.
This new development and the R&D team at Grace Food Processing & Packaging Machinery best practices help ensure a more stable and efficient process. Even with specialized equipment, there are still recommended procedures to follow which can be applied to all scenarios. These recommendations can result in less wear on parts, lower operator costs, and less downtime for maintenance, leading to increased productivity.