How Fruit Leather is Manufactured
Fruit leather is a fruit puree-derived product that has been pressed and extruded into a solid, hard leather. Historically, dried fruits and dried fruit-derivatives were eaten in the ancient Middle East. Today, it is a popular snack amongst children, adults, and endurance athletes, such as long-distance runners or hikers. This is because fruit leather is a simple carbohydrate that provides a quick energy spike during intense activities. Given this, it’s interesting to see how fruit leather is manufactured. Parents and fruit leather enthusiasts should read on to learn the simple way manufacturers make this treat.
Cooking the Fruit Concentrate
Manufacturers retrieve fruit concentrate in large batches and then place it in an augmented vat of water. There, workers add corn syrup, sweeteners, thickeners, and/or other additives, including artificial flavors and colors. Each vat can only handle one flavor at a given time, so manufacturers must either use many vats to make different fruit leather products or thoroughly clean one vat for reuse.
Extruding the Puree
After the puree cooks for five minutes in the vat, it’s piped over to another vat. From there, it goes into an extruder, where a metal die forces the fruit puree out of the vat and flattens it. It’s then extruded onto wax paper in different shapes and sizes depending on the specific product.
Drying and Rolling
Once extruded on the wax paper, the viscous fruit leather is malleable to package. A conveyor belt sends the leather through a cool-air drying tunnel to solidify it. Stamping machines may impress images, cartoons, letters, or numbers onto that product. Industrial rollers wind the leather into rolls alongside the wax paper.
Pouching and Packaging
A hopper drops individual rolls into a pouching machine to package. This pouch is either metallic foil or white paper. The pouches dispense through a sorting machine, which distributes them into boxes. Some boxes can feature cartoons or special designs. The boxes then ship off to retailers.
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