How to Create a Successful Food Blend

28 December 2021

The taste revolution is elevating custom, unitized blends with powerful flavours and effective technologies. At Hela Spice, our custom blends bring together the finest spices, seasonings, flavours, and functional ingredients to deliver the perfect taste and consistency every time.

The art of crafting a successful food blend demands expertise throughout the entire blending process. It requires precision and a rigorous understanding of each step from how to combine ingredients, to selecting the appropriate equipment, to managing equipment and temperature.

With this in mind, let’s examine the steps of developing a custom blend and the different challenges that may appear during the process (and how to solve them).

Blending

Creating the perfect food blend requires a thorough understanding of the different blending options.

Regardless of method, the desired goal is always a homogenous blend. From the first to the last bag, consistent product is key. Reaching this aim is highly complex, and requires complete control of the entire production process. Anything less will compromise efficiency, as well as the quality of the final product.

Selecting the right blending mode is determined by the ingredients that will form the blend.

Dry Blending

Crafting food blends made from dry ingredients requires the use of precise ratios. This exactness achieves consistency within the blend. Dry blending can also include wet to dry co-processing: the process of taking liquid ingredients and encapsulating them within a dry ingredient matrix.

Challenge: The blending step is critical when trying to create homogeneity. Improper Blender operation can cause clumping of the ingredients. With the clumping, the particles clump together and ingredients are distributed unevenly and it can have a substantial effect on the end product consistency and functionality. Compacted clumping (agglomeration) can be brought on by heat and moisture. If blended ingredient moisture is a problem, then reformulations and changes in anti-caking agents need to be considered.

Liquid Blending

Liquid blending combines liquid ingredients (or liquid and dry materials) into a fluid, consistent mixture. Again, an end-product that is consistent and evenly blended is the goal.

With liquid blending, close monitoring is crucial. This can be done with programmable controls that take data points at critical moments in the blending process. Monitoring viscosity, colour, temperature and aeration.

Careful attention must be paid to the viscosity of the liquid blend. Internal friction can be the enemy of a liquid blend as it can cause changes and disruptions in the viscosity due to temperatures outside of the desired range. This can result in a slurry that is too thin, too thick, sticky, or inconsistent. Managing the amount of energy within the blend, thus managing the agitation of the particles, can control the viscosity.

Dispersion Blending

Finally, dispersion blending sees the mixing of dry powders into liquid carriers often by way of a high-shear mixer. This high-shear mixing attains a thorough and consistent dispersion of the dry particles into the liquid.

Expertise is essential in this process. Just like in a liquid blend, the control of temperatures is critical to achieving the desired result. Perfect dispersion blending requires selecting the right equipment, understanding the ingredients and implementing the precise steps for a consistent functionally desired liquid blend.

Ingredient Challenges

If the ingredients are temperature-sensitive, they might agglomerate during the blending process. Instead of forming a free-flowing powder, the blend could develop clumps with the particles sticking together. This is most common in dry blending.

To solve this problem, the first step is to adjust the mixing times and speeds. If this doesn’t control the issue, an anti-caking agent (or flow agent) could be added to the blend itself. Finally, to ensure that clumps are prevented from entering the final bag, fine mesh screens are used to catch larger pieces and they are returned to the mix for further processing.

Another potential challenge can arise from the weakness of certain solid particles, for example textured pea or soy particles. If some particles are weaker than others, and thus more likely to crumble, the overall consistency of the blend may suffer. This is where experience and functional knowledge of the ingredients used in blends, comes into play. A skilful operator, with very tight and controlled processes can minimize the textural degradation.

Types of Equipment

The different types of blenders are as follows:

  • Double-Ribbon Blender
  • Paddle Blender
  • Continuous Blender
  • Tumble Blender
  • Vertical Cone Blender

In order to choose the correct equipment for a specific blend, consider the physical attributes of the ingredients. Different materials need to be blended in different ways, using different equipment. The goal is for the equipment to blend the ingredients with speed, efficiency, consistency and precision.

Run Size Can Determine Equipment Selection

Another crucial factor that impacts equipment selection is the stage of production. A start-up that is still testing its blends does not have the same scalability needs as a project preparing for full-scale production. Scalability helps decide what equipment will be needed.

Feasibility Stage: This is recommended for start-ups, research projects, and other projects that require a very limited run. The purpose of runs of this size is to determine the correct blend. Since only small amounts of the ingredients are used, a small mixer is required to encourage the correct blending procedures are used.

Pilot Stage: This is a medium-sized trial. The end result will be sample sizes that can be used to inform the next steps in production (for example, if production should be scaled up to commercial units).

Production Stage: A final production trial precedes full-scale commercial production. This is the time to troubleshoot and solve any remaining issues. If the project is time-sensitive, this stage may be skipped.

Flexibility

Each customer has unique requirements, and a thorough understanding of these needs are how we produce the perfect end product. Flexibility and adaptability are key.

At Hela Spice, we offer guidance during the product development process for clients that are unsure how to bring their idea to life. For companies that know exactly what they want, we know how to deliver that too. Ultimately, if a food blend is to be successful, it must fulfil the company’s vision.

Cleanliness and Safety Regulations

Abiding by federal safety regulations and maintaining the utmost level of factory cleanliness are both essential parts of creating the perfect custom food blend.

A commitment to food integrity requires adherence to the highest standards of food processing. It is imperative to control the entire manufacturing process and monitor every step. Food safety risks must be managed, safety systems must be implemented, and a safe product must be produced.

The environment must be clean if food blending is to be safe. Hela follows full HACCP procedures and is certified BRC compliant.

Hela Spice: The Essential Ingredient in Custom Food Blending

A successful food blend is homogenous, and crafted from high-quality spices, seasonings, flavours and functional ingredients that deliver on the desired taste, texture and appearance. Achieving the perfect consistency within a food blend requires a masterful handling of blending technologies. Each step in the process and every decision has profound impacts on the end result.

At Hela Spice, we are leading the way for the taste revolution. Our expertly formulated custom blends combine flavourful ingredients, expert knowledge, and state-of-the-art blending technologies to create a best-selling, delicious product.

To learn more about our custom blends, visit Hela Spice at www.helaspice.com or contact us here.

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