UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Bühler recently introduced PolyCool 1000, a high-performance cooling die that, together with an extruder, provides an efficient and flexible solution for food producers creating sustainable plant-based meat or fish alternatives.
“Bühler has for many years supported food producers in developing innovative products that offer an attractive alternative to animal meat — products that are similar in terms of fiber structure, color, texture, and taste,” said Christoph Vogel, head of market segment proteins and ingredients.
Extrusion is a highly versatile process that may be applied to a wide range of plant-based raw materials to create meat or fish alternatives. An integral part of the process is the cooling die. With PolyCool 1000, Bühler adds a new high-performance cooling die to its range.
Cooling dies work with extrusion technology to enable the creation of meat or fish substitutes with structures and textures that closely resemble animal-based meat products such as chicken, fish, or beef. With the PolyCool 1000 cooling die in combination with an extruder, it is possible to produce wet-textured proteins based on a wide range of raw materials, including soy, pulses, oilseeds, upcycled side streams like brewer spent grains, as well as newer ingredients such as microalgae, at throughputs of up to 1,000 kilograms per hour.
The PolyCool 1000 enables production of products of different shapes and structures while meeting the standards required by industrial-scale production.
The individual cooling circuits can each be controlled independently to determine the product’s final texture. The high-capacity cooling die can withstand pressures of up to 50 bar as it cools down the melt from some 150 degrees Celsius to below boiling point. With its electropolished surface, the extruder and the PolyCool 1000 are easy to clean and meet all hygienic design standards to maximize food safety. The PolyCool 1000 is also easy to assemble and disassemble.
The PolyCool 1000 completes the product portfolio of high-moisture cooling dies by Bühler, including the PolyCool 500 for mid-scale industrial production, and the PolyCool 50 for product development purposes.
“With the PolyCool 1000, customers can achieve high-capacity production, bringing down costs and making meat substitutes more affordable,” Vogel said. “As the market shifts to a more plant-based diet, fueled by consumers’ growing interest in health, sustainability and ethical concerns, the PolyCool 1000 supports food producers in grasping this opportunity.”