Freeze-drying is a dehydration process carried at low temperatures. It involves freezing the product, lowering the pressure, and removing excess moisture. This process is widely accepted in the food industry because it results in the high-quality products as processing is carried at low temperatures which causes less damage to the substance as compared to other dehydration methods that use higher temperatures. The freeze-drying process is preferred over all other methods of dehydration as the benefits are manifold. Some of its benefits are no occurrence of shrinkage or toughening of the substance being dried. It is the popular method of preserving food as it does not change the flavor, aroma, and nutritional content of the food and helps in preserving for longer durations.
The food industry is extensively using this process to extend the shelf-life without compromising the quality of the food and since it is able to preserve the flavor and maintain the structural integrity of food, it results in the highest quality of foods amongst all drying techniques. Food items that are usually freeze-dried are seasonal fruits and vegetables, high-value food products processed for military rations, astronauts, hikers, and Ship Personnel.
The low temperature dehydration process is not very friendly to microorganisms and microbial growth is inhibited in such conditions but some pathogens and microorganisms that are resistant to low-temperature conditions can yet be present in the product which can further lead to degradation of the product. Hence, it is important to package the freeze dried food with oxygen absorbers to remove even the minute traces of oxygen to prevent the microbial growth. Also, it is found that oxidation of oils occurs very commonly in freeze-dried food products and it offsets the flavor making it unsuitable for consumption.
Sorbead India markets ‘Oxysorb’, US FDA certified food grade oxygen absorbers which is effective at removing oxygen from the food packets. Even the traces of oxygen in these packets can allow the resistant microorganisms to thrive and cause degradation of the product. Therefore, oxygen absorbers must be used inside the packaging as a precautionary measure.
Oxygen absorbers ensure longer shelf-life of the packaged food products by absorbing whatever little amount of oxygen that gets trapped while packaging or somehow penetrates through packets over time. This further helps in stopping the microbial growth and maintaining the freshness of the food till the time it is consumed. Oxysorb comes in customized packing sizes to suit the needs of the manufacturer across various food industries.