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Ready-to-eat snack products: the role of extrusion technology in developing consumer acceptable and nutritious snacks


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Consumer appeal for ready-to-eat (RTE) products is forecast to grow rapidly over the next 5 years as consumers demand convenient snacks with exciting sensory and textural properties. Extrusion technology has been used extensively in the production of cereal RTE snacks due to its ease of operation and ability to produce a variety of textures and shapes which appeal to consumers. Many of the existing RTE products are relatively high in sugar and salt, thus being regarded as energy dense but nutritionally poor foods. However, there exists a potential to manipulate the nutritional status of extruded RTEs by altering the digestion potentials of starch and protein, and by the incorporation of bioactive components such as dietary fibre. The review article explores some of the recent research in this field and illustrates opportunities by which the global food industry could react to consumers' requirements for healthful RTE snack products in the coming years.