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IQF food manufacturing app
Instant noodle manufacturing app
Instant Noodle Manufacturing App
What are instant noodles?
According to the CODEX*1 STANDARD FOR INSTANT NOODLES, "the instant noodle may be packed with noodle seasonings, or in the form of seasoned noodle and with or without noodle garnish(s) in separate pouches, or sprayed on noodle and ready for consumption after dehydration process." Instant Noodle is defined as "a product prepared from wheat flour and/or rice flour and/or other flours and/or starches as the main ingredient, with or without the addition of other ingredients. It may be treated by alkaline agents. It is characterized by the use of pre-gelatinization process and dehydration either by frying or by other methods."
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*1 International food code developed jointly by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Full control over the blanching temperature and time in the IF Blancher is important for avoiding overblanching of sensitive products like pasta and grains. Further on, with an efficient chilling below 5°C in the OctoFrost™ IF Chiller, good product separation is achieved in the OctoFrost IQF Freezer. Fully adjustable airflow in the OctoFrost™ IQF freezing tunnel and the gentle movement of the bedplates ensure no lumps of grains or damage of pasta products.
The rainshower and cross-flow systems, which are at the heart of the IF Blancher and Chiller, help achieve the quickest heat transfer while the recirculation system optimizes water consumption. The frequency converters installed on each OctoFrost fan in the IQF tunnel translates in significant energy savings. By decreasing the fans’ speed, overall energy savings can reach as high as 30% while preserving the product quality.
Quick and efficient blanching and chilling, together with the unique aerodynamics of the OctoFrost™ Freezer, result into less snow formation when compared to other technologies, which means minimum dehydration and higher yield for the processor.
All OctoFrost equipment has easy-to-clean design for ensuring food safety. Every part of the blancher and chiller that comes in contact with the blanching and chilling water can be cleaned by CIP (Cleaning-In-Place). The free-standing body, lack of joints and exchangeable bedplates of the OctoFrost™ Freezer contribute even further to food safety for IQF pasta and grains processors.
What are the types of instant noodles?
Instant noodles are categorized into two types, "Fried noodles" and "Non-fried noodles," depending on dehydration method.
- Fried noodles
Noodles in a metal mold are fried in the oil at 140-160˚C for a minute or two. Moisture content of the dough is reduced from a 30-40% level to a 3-6% level, and pre-gelatinization is accelerated in this process.
- Non-fried noodles
This is literally noodles that are not fried in oil. Noodles in a metal mold are put into an air-drier and dehydrated with hot air at approximately 80˚C for more than 30 minutes. The noodles made with this method are "air-dried noodles."
Other than the above mentioned, "Raw-type instant noodles" are steamed noodles which are sterilized with organic acid (mainly lactic acid, citric acid, acetic acid, malic acid, etc.).
Between fried and non-fried noodles, remarkable differences lie in moisture- and fat- contents. Fried noodles have significantly less moisture content than non-fried noodle. On the other hand, when it comes to fat, one serving of fried noodles typically contain approximately 20g of fat, while non-fried noodles only contain 4-6g or one-fourth of fat, because they are not fried in oil.
What are the components of instant noodles?
The main components of instant noodles are protein, fat, carbohydrate, wood ash, moisture, etc. The largest portion is carbohydrate, which accounts for 60g per 100g of instant noodles. It is because the main material of noodles is wheat flour. 8.4-10.7g of protein and 4.6-7.7g of ash are contained in 100g of instant noodles. The contents vary slightly, depending on the type and blending of wheat flour.
What kinds of additives are used for instant noodles?
Listed below are typical additives used in noodles.
Noodle quality improver:
Guar gum and Xanthane gum, protein made from wheat and soybeans are used to enhance the noodle texture and elasticity as well as flavor. Kansui is used to give the noodles unique features of Chinese noodles.
This additive is polysaccharide to increase viscosity and smoothness. Algin acid and pectin, etc., extracted from seaweeds, beans, apples, oranges are used as viscosity stabilizers.
Emulsifiers spread oil and fat evenly and stabilize the product quality. Typically, plant lecithin, which can be produced in the refining process of soybean oil is used.
Antioxidants (Vitamin E):
Vitamin E used as an antioxidant to prevent oxidation of oil and fat contained in noodles. This can be produced in the refining process of soybean oil. This is not a preservative.
To maintain noodle color constant, gardenia dye gained by heating saccharides such as glucose and sugar, and carotene extracted from carrot are used.
Fortifier dietary supplements:
For the purpose of nutrient enrichment, the nutrients such as Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, calcium, etc. are added. Instant noodle are often fortified with calcium, a nutrient many people lack in daily life.
Q5What is "kansui"?
Kansui is an indispensable component for instant noodles. Not only does it provide viscous elasticity, it also adds a special flavor specific to Chinese noodles. In China kansui originally meant water containing wood ashes or mineral rich well water, however now it referrers to the water containing one or more of the following―potassium carbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate, and potassium or sodium in the phosphate group. The components of kansui are included in the list A (1), the category of the highest safety, by FAC/WHO.
Kansui develops the flavonoid color to a light yellow. Approximately 0.1-0.2g of kansui is used in instant noodles of 100 g, but 0.3-0.6g in case of non-fried noodles. With alkaline pH value at 7-8, it enhances flavor coupled with soup.
How many calories does a serving of instant noodles have?
Generally one serving of instant noodles has 300-500kcal.
Just for the reference, the daily energy requirement is said to be 2,450-2,650kcal for an adult male and 1,950-2,000kcal for an adult female*2.
*2 Dietary Standard for the Japanese, 2010 (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan)
Why can instant noodles be stored for a long period of time?
Instant noodles are the grand sum of food preservation technology. The measures to improve preservability are as follows.
- Dehydration process and high-temperature treatment
Noodles, seasoning powder and garnishes are dehydrated, resulting in a moisture content of 14.5% at highest. To prevent deterioration of liquid seasoning and garnishes with high moisture content, they go through high-temperature treatment before packaging.
- Water activity and bacteriostatic effect by pH control
Liquid soup and paste-like soup base are either condensed to reduce moisture content or are mixed with salt, sugar and seasoning to keep down water activity value (the level of water suitable for microbiological growth). Also, pH control and addition of alcohol are performed for bacteriostatic effect.
- Lipid antioxidant
Raw materials with oil and fat are carefully selected in view of oxidative stability. To prevent deterioration of oil and fat, they are not heated excessively in processing. Moreover, natural vitamin E, which has an antioxidant effect, is added. Therefore, we do not have to worry about the quality deterioration resulting from oxidation of oil and fat.
- Examination of packaging materials
To improve preservability, the packaging materials used for instant noodles are high in blocking performance against humidity, oxygen, light rays, heat, and oil, and are durable.
What are the tips for stocking instant noodles after purchase?
You can prevent quality deterioration of instant noodles and enjoy their good taste if you keep to the following four points.
- Keep out of direct sunlight
- Store at ambient temperatures
- Keep out of humidity
- Keep away from odorous substances
If you store instant noodles near odorous substances such as "repellent," "insecticide," "detergent," "deodorizer," "cosmetics," etc., migration of odor components could happen.
How is oil and fat controlled?
Oil and fat works as a heating medium in the production stage and gives fatty acid necessary for the human body. Also oil and fat plays an important role by enhancing flavor and the sense of fullness. On the other hand, foods containing oil and fat can be deteriorated by oxidation, and can damage flavor and cause nasty smells. To prevent oxidation, oil and fat used in instant noodles is strictly monitored and controlled.
Palm oil, genuine lard, sesame oil, etc., or a blend of them are used to fry noodles. Frying machines are designed so that noodles are always fried in fresh oil, and the volume of oil in the frying tub is controlled to be constant. To keep the oil absorbed by noodles fresh, the production process is strictly controlled as explained below.
- Control the frying oil temperature at 140-150˚C. (The frying oil at ordinary household is180˚C/).
- Minimize the exposure to air.
- Quickly remove bits of fried noodles
- Do not use oxidable materials in a frying machine.
- Quickly cool down the noodles and oil after frying.
- Add Vitamin E, which has antioxidation effect.
- Use shielding containers and packaging materials to keep out of humidity, sun light, and air.
The "acid value" of finished products is checked as a quality indicator. Like this, good flavor and quality of instant noodles are protected by strictly controlling oil and fat.
How are instant noodles produced at a factory?
What are seasonings (soup bases) made of?
The three types of instant noodle seasonings are powder-type, liquid-type and granulated powder-type. Among them, powder-type has the largest share.
Listed below are main raw materials for powder-type seasoning.
- Basic seasoning: salt, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, edible oil, etc.
- Natural extracts: meat extract, seafood, kelp, fungi, etc.
- Dehydrated powders: meats, seafoods, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, etc.
- Spices: pepper, allspice, bay leaf, garlic, red pepper, etc.
How seasonings in attached sachet are made?
Shown below is the process of producing seasonings in attached sachet.
Paste-like materials and liquid materials such as natural extracts are dehydrated, together with salt, etc. and crushed into a powder.
The raw materials in small volumes such as spices and amino acid are pre-mixed.
The pre-treated and pre-mixed items are mixed with other raw materials. The temperature and humidity of the mixing room are kept constant so that the raw materials stay dry for the next step.
- Subdivided packing
After inspection, the powdered seasoning is put into sachets by filling instrument. (Occasionally, the sachet comes with liquid soup and paste-like soup with fat. Sealing condition and weight are checked.
How are garnishes of instant noodles made?
Garnishes of instant noodles have an important role; not only do they improve flavor and nutrition balance, they also please the eyes.
Typical dehydration method of garnishes
- Hot air
Hot air is applied to fresh garnishes. This is the most common method to dehydrate garnishes, mainly vegetables.
- Vacuum freeze drying
Garnishes which have been frozen rapidly at -30˚C are dried under vacuum. This dehydration method prevents the loss of nutritional value and helps the materials to be reconstituted easily by adding water. This method is used mainly for vegetables and materials rich in protein.
- Micro wave heating drying
The microwave heating drying equipment gives garnishes an inner heat, which achieves tissue formation and dehydration at the same time. This dehydration method is often used for eggs.
Retort food is cooked food filled in pouches, which are tightly sealed, followed by sterilization using heat and pressure. The materials are sterilized in autoclave at the thermal death point of heat-resistant spore-forming bacteria. By sterilizing at 120˚C for four minutes or by an equally effective sterilization method, long time storage at ambient temperature is realized.
- Garnishes are controlled in accordance with, size, weight, moisture content, water activity, microbe, resiliency as well as color, appearance, flavor, foreign matters.
Do instant noodles have good nutrition balance?
Many instant noodles are fortified with calcium, vitamin B1, B2, etc., which are necessary for your health. While enjoying the food, you can take in the nutrition of the daily needs. However, no matter what food you may eat, if you eat only that food, nutrition will be ill-balanced. For balanced dietary life, please eat various foods, such as fish and vegetables, together with instant noodles.
Instant Noodles Manufacturing
Instant noodles were born in Japan in 1958, 10-odd years after Japan's defeat in World War II. It was the time when the advent of television as new media was about to drastically change people's consumption patterns. "Chicken Ramen," the world's first instant noodles, invented by Momofuku Ando was epoch-making product, which was made by dehydrating the steamed and seasoned noodles in oil heat. He has enabled mass-production of instant noodles by establishing the entire process of industrial method of manufacturing: noodle-making, steaming, seasoning, and dehydrating in oil heat. The product that becomes ready to eat just in two minutes by adding boiling water was dubbed "a magic ramen," and became an instant popular sensation.
Instant noodles with flavoring powder in a separate packet were launched in response to people's strong demand for better quality and taste, and the product line was highly acclaimed. The forerunner of Japan Convenience Foods Industry Association was founded in 1964 when the entrants rapidly increased and competition among them became excessively fierce in this growing market. The association strove to maintain the product quality by applying Japan Agricultural Standard (JAS) and started to display the date of manufacture to be more consumer-friendly. Since then, increasingly many different flavors of instant noodles had been put into the market, and their product quality, as represented by non-fried noodles, had been improved.
It was "CUP NOODLES®" launched in 1971 that boosted the then saturated instant noodle market. The differentiating feature of the product is that flavored noodles were placed in an upright Styrofoam container together with freeze-dried condiments such as shrimps, pork, egg and vegetables, and the product was launched as completely new instant noodles. "CUP NOODLES®" was more than instant noodles contained in a Styrofoam package; the product revolutionized the entire processed-food industry. The innovative cup combined three different functions: a packaging material while on store shelves, cooker when boiling water is poured in, and a bowl when eating noodles. It was the processed food, in which a totally new concept was embodied.
Spreading first to Asia and then to Americas and Europe, instant noodles have become accepted globally. Especially with the rise of income level in developing countries in the 1990s, the consumption increased rapidly there. Annual global demand for instant noodles was estimated approximately 15 billion servings in 1990, and the demand grew to 50 billion servings in 2001 and exceeded 100 billion servings mark in 2012. The rapid growth was attributed to the universality of the five principles Momofuku Ando had set forth in developing the food, namely affordability, convenience, safety and hygiene, long shelf life, and palatability. Besides, it was pointed that the versatility of instant noodles enabled themselves to fuse with ingredients in local cooking and traditional flavors. Moreover, going ahead of rising health-consciousness, many manufacturers launched instant noodles with various healthy recipes: noodles with dietary fiber and collagen, low-calorie noodles, and low-sodium noodles, etc.
Amid rapid market growth, Momofuku Ando was concerned that excessively harsh competition could cause quality problem on a world-wide scale. To avoid the recurrence of such incidents, as occurred in Japan in the early 1960s, Momofuku proposed the establishment of a global industry association as a platform for food safety to the world's leading instant noodle manufacturers. Consequently, International Ramen Manufacturers Association (IRMA) was formed, and the inaugural meeting held in Tokyo in 1997 was attended by 10 manufacturers and one industry association. For the purpose of quality improvement, IRMA initiated the CODEX Standard for Instant Noodles, which was eventually adopted at the Codex General Assembly in 2006.
In 2007, IRMA made an organizational transformation so as to accommodate more members: instant noodle manufacturers as well as the companies in related industries from around the world. Taking this occasion, the association name was changed to World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), in compliance with the term used for the Codex.
Ramen became the talk of the town in 2005, as the instant noodles developed jointly with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were loaded into a space shuttle. Three bite-size noodle cakes, soup and condiments were put into a soft airtight container. Soup was thickened to keep it from dispersing in weightless environment. The noodles were designed to be reconstituted even in water heated to 70 degrees Celsius. Such features are good for senior users and energy efficient. As exemplified here instant noodles will continue to evolve. Instant noodles, as the food with enormous potentialities, are expected to generate new demands.
A healthier noodle floats to the top
As the convenience trend dominated the U.S. market, developers saw an opportunity to capitalize on a new category. But they didn’t just want to compete with a fat-fried, look-alike version of Japan’s instant ramen—they wanted a more healthful and visually appealing product.
To realize this vision, we adapted several technologies to form a new manufacturing process and create a unique noodle. We started with a laminated sheet, rolled, slit and curled in a traditional Asian style. We then steamed the noodles to both pre-gelatinize them and develop their high-strength starch-protein matrixes. Finally, puffing and air-drying eliminated the need for frying, which not only cut the fat but also produced noodles that floated for a better appearance and eating experience.
These three innovative processes resulted in a better-for-you, better-looking, better-tasting noodle. And most importantly introduced the U.S. market to a legend—America’s first fat-free Asian noodle.
The manufacturing process of IQF instant noodles
MOE (Margin of Exposure)
The ratio of its NOAEL to its theoretical, predicted dose or concentration of human intake. It is used to assess the dangerousness of substances that are both genotoxic and carcinogenic.
TDI (Tolerable Daily Intake)
The permissible intake amount of substances unintentionally added to food, that can be ingested orally daily over a lifetime without an appreciable health risk. NOAEL is divided by an uncertainty factor (100 or other) to account for the differences between animals and human, and sensitivity between humans, such as gender- and age differences. Usually expressed in “mg/kg (body weight)/day.”(1) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) (Benzene, Toluene, etc)(2) Insect repellents (p-Dichlorobenzene, Naphthalene, etc)(3) trans Fatty acids(4) Others
ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake)
The daily intake amount of artificially added chemical substances, which is considered to have no adverse effects on health even if consumed daily throughout one’s life. NOAEL is divided by a safety factor (conventionally 100) to account for the differences between animals and human, and sensitivity between humans, such as gender- and age- differences. Usually expressed in “mg/kg (body weight)/day.”(1) Food additives (Noodle-improving agents, thickening-stabilization agents, emulsifying agents, antioxidants, etc.)(2) Agricultural Chemicals(3) Veterinary Drugs(4) Others