Vacuum fryer was first developed in the U.S. as alternative technique of deep-fat frying to reduce the oil content of potato chips. According to the American Heart Association, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease was attributed to high fat diet, especially foods containing trans-fatty acids. Because of this, the vacuum fryer was developed and used by the snack food industries to lower the fat contents in their snack foods and help reduce the risk of heart disease.
In the early 80’s, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia adapted the vacuum frying technology as one of their post harvest processing techniques in producing high value products from different raw materials such as jackfruit, pineapple, root crops and sea foods which later gained acceptance in their respective markets.
In those years, the Philippines was also gradually establishing the development of the technology locally through the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology. The first prototype of a batch-type vacuum fryer was completed with a capacity of 2 kg per batch. This equipment was used in different studies conducted in the development of different products in the field of vacuum frying technology. It was also used by some of their clients who were into or were interested in specialty snack business.
Because of the increasing demands for this technology, in 1996 ITDI procured a batch type 5 kg capacity vacuum fryer from Japan. This state of the art equipment is equipped with automatic pressure and temperature controls that regulate the condition during vacuum frying. It has also a built-in centrifuge designed to expel excess oil during cooling. This equipment served an almost a hundred clients from the time of its procurement. Drawing from its vast experience in the development of the technology in the Philippines, ITDI has able to set up a number of customized vacuum fryers throughout the country.
Technology & Product
The product – a customized vacuum fryer – is a kind of equipment for deep-fat frying designed to fry under reduced pressure and in a closed system that lowers the boiling point of both oil and water in food. Due to the application of pressure below atmospheric (vacuum) pressure, water in the food material rapidly vaporizes at increased rate when the food products is immersed in hot oil. Also, under vacuum, the food material expands and allows further removal of trapped moisture.
With these conditions, frying is accomplished at a relatively low temperature thus its natural color and flavor are retained compared to conventional deep-fat frying method. The food is likewise crunchier in texture and absorbs less amount of oil in the process. The vacuum fryer is customized to suit the specifications of the customer and the local working conditions. A typical vacuum fryer consists of a frying vessel, an oil preheating vessel, a vacuum pump and a control panel.
The temperature in vacuum frying is low enough to retain the natural color and flavor of food while giving it a crispy texture. The food absorbs less oil which makes it healthier to eat. Since less oil is absorbed, frying oil turnover is greatly reduced. Furthermore, oil deterioration in vacuum frying is slower since it only uses about 100 °C to 130 °C which are not high enough to accelerate oil degradation during frying.
As already being done in some countries for years, banana, mango, pineapple, durian, red apple, jackfruit, papaya, golden pumpkin, okra and carrot can now be vacuum-fried. The final products are crunchy, low in fat and high in fiber content. The fruits and vegetables’ natural 2 colors and flavors are retained with minimal changes. When packed in appropriate packages, the products require no preservatives making them ideal as healthy snacks.
One local product which has a bright potential in the export market is vacuum-fried jackfruit. Jackfruit or langka, as it is known locally, is one of the most widely grown and popular fruits in the Philippines. The fruit alone weighs up to 36 kilograms, exuding a rich yellow sweet and aromatic smell when fully ripe. Given today’s fast-changing life wherein everything comes in packs and “to go”, the demand for quality ready-to-eat fruits is high. But consumers also prefer quality- preferably those that do not contain any of that artificial preservative.
Food products processed through vacuum frying are increasingly gaining acceptance around the world. More and more Americans, Europeans and Japanese prefer healthy foods and vacuum-fried snack foods with low fat content can be excellent alternative foods for them. Likewise, demand for snack foods is increasing among the ASEAN countries, Taiwan and South Korea and this offers excellent opportunities for the Philippines to export its brand of vacuum-fried snack foods like jackfruit, pineapple, root crops, tahong and halaan.
OFWs and balikbayans are also the likely patrons of vacuum-fried snack foods knowing that when they get to their countries of destination the snack foods that they will be bringing will still retain their original colors and flavors and crispiness.
In the Philippines, ITDI has developed a vacuum-frying technology for halaan and tahong. These marine products are abundant in our archipelagic country and so sourcing is no problem.
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For more information, contact:
Technology Utilization & Commercialization Services Group – TRC
Jacinta Bldg. 2, Guadalupe Nuevo, EDSA, Makati City
Tel: (02) 822-50875418 loc 201, 208, 209, 210