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The fat content of fried food is a major concern within the food industry. Research at TNO has shown that it is possible to reduce the fat content of finished-fried fries with up to 50% by using superheated steam (SHS) as a finish frying process. However, this process has other advantages as well, like energy saving, reduced odour emission, environmental safety and a waste free process. French fries obtained with this process have excellent properties in terms of taste, texture and colour. The most important advantage is that the fries have a low fat content which is a major consumer benefit.
TNO has developed a method for finish-frying of French fries in a closed circuit superheated steam process in the absence of frying oil. Atmospheric steam is superheated to a temperature between 140º and 200ºC (284º to 392ºF) and brought into direct contact with the product. The heat transferred from the steam is comparable to frying in oil. The closed system prevents the release of undesired odour and the absence of oxygen reduces the risk of product oxidation.
TNO envisages SHS applications for finish frying of fries in the following markets:
TNO was the first organization to prove that SHS can replace the final frying step in the preparation of fries. Without any loss of crispiness the amount of calories, fat and (trans) fatty acids in the product are decreased. In most cases it also leads to an improvement of the original taste profile of the fries. At TNO flexible research pilot facilities are available for demonstration purposes. Also a process design for developing a realistic out-of-home scale apparatus is available. Opportunities are open to commercialize such an apparatus.
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