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Food Manufacturing


Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients
into food or to transform food into other forms that is used for consumption by humans or animals. This is done for products that are used either in the home or by the food processing industry. Food processing/manufacturing typically takes clean, harvested crops or slaughtered and butchered animal products and uses these to produce attractive and marketable food products. Similar processes are used to produce animal feed.

Common food processing and manufacturing techniques include:

  • Removal of unwanted outer layers, such as potato peeling or the skinning of peaches.
  • Chopping or slicing
  • Mincing and macerating
  • Liquefaction, such as to produce fruit juice
  • Fermentation as is used in beer breweries
  • Emulsification
  • Cooking, such as boiling, broiling, frying, steaming or grilling
  • Deep frying
  • Baking
  • Mixing
  • Addition of gas such as air entrainment for bread or gasification of soft drinks
  • Proofing
  • Spray drying
  • Pasteurization
  • Packaging

Food manufacture dates back to the prehistoric ages when crude processing incorporated slaughtering, fermenting, sun drying, preserving with salt, and various other types of cooking (such as roasting, smoking, steaming, and oven baking). Salt-preservation was especially common for foods that constituted warrior and sailors' diets and was used until the introduction of canning methods. Evidence for the existence of these methods exists in the writings of the ancient Greek, Chaldean, Egyptian and Roman civilizations as well as ample archaeological evidence from Europe, North and South America and Asia. These tried and tested processing techniques remained essentially the same up until the advent of the industrial revolution. There are also examples of ready-meals that exist from pre industrial revolution times such as the Cornish pasty and the Haggis

Modern food processing and manufacturing technology in the 19th and 20th century was largely developed to serve military needs. In 1809 Nicolas Appert invented a vacuum bottling technique that would be used to supply food for French troops, and this contributed to the development of tinning and then canning by Peter Durand in 1810.

Although this process was initially expensive and somewhat hazardous due to the lead used in cans, canned goods would later become a staple around the world. Pasteurization, discovered by Louis Pasteur in 1862, was a highly significant advance in ensuring the micro-biological safety of food.

In the 20th century, World War II, the space race and the rising consumer society in developed countries (including the United States) has contributed to the growth of food manufacturing with such advances as spray drying, juice concentrates, freeze drying and the introduction of artificial sweeteners, coloring agents, and preservatives such as sodium benzoate. In the late 20th century products such as dried instant soups, reconstituted fruits and juices, and self cooking meals such as MRE food ration were able to be widely developed.

During the second half of the 20th century in western Europe and North America consumers witnessed a rise in the pursuit of convenience, food processors especially marketed their products to middle-class working wives and mothers. Frozen foods (which are often credited to Clarence Birdseye) found a profitable success in sales of juice concentrates and "TV dinners".

Food manufacturers and processors also used the perceived value of time to appeal to the postwar population, and that same appeal contributes to the success of convenience foods today.

When designing processes for the food industry food manufacturers must take the following performance parameters into account:

  • Hygiene, for example: measured by number of micro-organisms per ml of finished product

  • Energy consumption, for example:measured by ton of steam per ton of sugar produced

  • Minimization of waste, for example: measured by percentage of peeling loss during the peeling of potatoes

  • Labor used, for example: measured by number of working hours per ton of finished product

  • Minimization of cleaning stops for example:measured by number of hours between cleaning stops

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