Freeze-drying has revolutionized multiple industries, from food to biomedicine, by preserving the very foundation of materials.
The methods behind this preservation game charger may sound like something straight out of a science fiction movie, but there’s nothing fictional about the benefits it offers both buyers and suppliers in the wholesale import market.
Versatile preservation – that’s what freeze-drying is all about
When it comes to preservation, freeze-drying is about as versatile as it comes. The process of freeze-drying allows for the preservation of highly sensitive APIs, perishable food, and heat-sensitive biological materials, which has made it a valuable part of multiple industries, including the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, and biomedical industry. It’s even reached into the DIY market, making at-home freeze-drying possible for everyone.
So why is freeze-drying so great? The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is the increased retention of nutrients and the longer shelf-life it offers. But freeze-drying also makes a huge difference when it comes to supply chain logistics. With reduced waste, increased product stability, and the narrowed impact of spillage, supply chains are simplified and sped up at the same time.
Understanding the Freeze-Drying Process
Freeze-drying, which is also known as lyophilization, is a process that removes water and other solvents from a completely frozen sample by placing it under a vacuum. This process allows the ice to change directly from a solid to a vapor without passing through the liquid phase, a process called sublimation.
Freeze-drying occurs in three phases: freezing, primary drying, and secondary drying, and looks something like this:
Stage 1: Freezing
That was obvious, right? Freeze-drying starts with a process called rapid freezing to produce small ice crystals that do not harm the structure of the material being frozen, as the large ice crystals caused by normal freezing would.
Stage 2: Primary Drying
Then the vacuum is turned on to force air out of the chamber, lowering the atmospheric pressure below .06 ATM. To change the phase of the frozen material, heating units apply small amounts of heat to the shelves. But because the pressure is so low, the ice turns directly into water vapor, which is sucked out of the freeze-drying chamber.
Stage 3: Secondary Drying
In this phase, any remaining water molecules are removed from the material by raising the temperature incrementally while the vacuum continues to suck the resulting vapor out of the chamber.
Molecules changing phases in an instant and vapors being sucked out of chambers – it’s the most science fiction preservation method you’re bound to find for the next few years still.
The benefits, however, are very much relevant to the here and now.
What are the benefits of Freeze-Drying?
If you’re looking at a versatile preservation method that’s endorsed by such varied industries, you know the benefits are going to be just as diverse.
Here are some of the top benefits of freeze-drying:
Retain more nutritional value
The ideal solution for preserving the nutritional profiles of the raw material is better than any other drying method.
Extend the shelf life of materials
By removing the water and solvents that cause spoilage, freeze-drying extends the shelf life of products, such as vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and food products.
Preserve color, flavor, and structure
By keeping the structure of the raw material in check, the freeze-dried product preserves the actual color and shape of the original, resulting in more pleasant consumer experiences.
Spoilage is minimized through increased shelf-life; less packaging material is needed due to the smaller size of the products; and the compact, lightweight nature of the products helps to reduce the waste and the carbon footprint of transportation.
Preserve with energy-efficiency
Freeze-drying uses less energy than other preservation methods, such as canning or refrigeration, making it a more environmentally friendly option.
Cut out the need for preservatives
Freeze-drying eliminates the need for preservatives that are both bad for consumers’ health and the environment.
How does freeze-drying reduce the risk of ingredient sourcing?
The greatest benefit for both buyers and suppliers in the food industry is the reduced risk that is so often an unavoidable part of ingredient sourcing.
As an ingredient buyer, you’re often strapped with one of two options: either you opt for fresh products and accept the possible risk of spoilage, or you go for the preserved route that may lower the quality of the product but at least nothing was lost along the journey.
With freeze-drying, you get the best of both.
Product spoilage and degradation are a thing of the past. Reduced packaging and waste lead directly to cost optimization. And your customers get the highest quality product possible, with its full flavor, color, and nutritional value in place.
When it comes to wholesale ingredient orders and bulk purchases, you don’t get much better than this.
Freeze-drying is the answer to so many sourcing and importing challenges. Now it’s time for Ingredient Brothers to help you take away the bite of the supply chain with the most versatile ingredient preservation available. Need a partner in enhancing your sourcing journey? Reach out to us to explore how we can revolutionize your ingredient game. And for a comprehensive view of our offerings, delve into our products list and discover the array of possibilities that await.