Scaling Up: Buhler’s Latest Cooling Die Accelerates Extruded Meat and Fish Alternatives
Buhler has launched the PolyCool 1000, a high-performance cooling die that, together with an extruder, can create fibrous textures for plant-based meat or fish alternatives. The system is positioned as an industrial-scale, efficient and flexible solution for food producers to meet the rapidly growing demand for sustainable proteins.
“With the PolyCool 1000, customers can achieve high-capacity production, bringing down costs and making meat substitutes more affordable,” says Christoph Vogel, head of market segment proteins and ingredients at Bühler. “As the market shifts to more plant-based diets, fueled by consumers’ growing interest in health, sustainability, and ethical concerns, the PolyCool 1000 supports food producers in grasping this opportunity.”
The launch closely follows Bühler’s partnership with German food science researchers at the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) to support start-ups and customers to produce “next-gen” extruded meat alternatives. The PolyCool 1000 enables the 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 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. Soy, pulses, oilseeds, upcycled side streams, such as brewers’ spent grains, as well as newer ingredients such as microalgae, can be processed at throughputs of up to 1,000 kg per hour.