We describe functional foods as those which are enriched with additional ingredients in order to achieve a positive effect on the health of the consumer. The enriching ingredients include, amongst others, secondary plant substances, vitamins, minerals or bacterial cultures. “Functional food” products, such as probiotic yogurts, for example, are now among the foods with the highest growth rates. The flexibility of decanters from GEA makes them ideal for the extraction of secondary plant substances such as beta-carotene, lycopene, phenolic compounds and betalain.

Special Processes – Secondary Plant Substances from Natural Raw Materials

These secondary plant substances form a chemically highly heterogeneous group of ingredients, which are used on the basis of either proven or supposed health-promoting properties. The growing market for these “nutraceuticals” and their use as “functional food” requires extraction processes in which decanters from GEA ensure extraction which is as gentle as it is specific and efficient. The key benefit of these decanters lies in their flexibility. Engineering developments reflect the wide variety of plant raw materials to be processed, and they can be perfectly adjusted to suit the requirements in question simply by changing machine parameters. They can be combined with a wide variety of treatment processes and in each case, ensure the product properties required with convincing quality. The innovative flexibility of the decanters allows each producer to manufacture an individual product to suit individual requirements.

GEA decanters play a key role in the extraction of widely varying substances. One specialty is the extraction of “radical scavengers” such as beta-carotene from carrots, and lycopene, the red color in tomatoes. Phenolic compounds such as resveratrol, which has a cancer-inhibiting effect, are extracted from red grapes. These decanters which treat the product gently are also perfectly suited to the extraction of betalain from beetroot. Betalain gives beetroot its typical color and is used as a natural color in the meat and confectionery industries.