Revolutionizing Preservation: Leading Freeze-Drying Companies & Start-Ups!

Food companies and their customers are increasingly looking for a light, easy-to-store products with a longer shelf life, which explains the popularity of freeze-drying technology. Moreover, with the help of this technology, manufacturers don’t have to compromise on the nutritional value, flavor, and appearance of the products, which is a problem with other preservation methods. 

Due to these benefits, global freeze-drying food technology is expected to grow and reach $2.69 billion by 2025. The market is expected to increase at an approximate CAGR of 8.5% during the forecast period (2020-2025).

Global Freeze-Drying Food Technology Market Size during 2020-2025 ($Billion)

The key factors propelling the expansion of the market are the soaring demand for lyophilized(freeze-dried) products, food preservation, and technological improvements in lyophilization. (Source) Owning to the expected growth, multiple startups and companies focus on innovative solutions in this domain, forming this article’s crux.

While freeze-drying technology is just one of the trending innovations in Food Tech, you can learn about the other 9 trends by filling out the form below!

For the rest, who want to explore top freeze-drying technology startups and companies in detail, you can keep reading…

Major Freeze-Drying Companies in the Market

1. GEA Group

The GEA Group, headquartered in Germany, is one of the major technology suppliers to food processing and other industries. Its technology includes several advanced features, such as automatic control systems for temperature and pressure, advanced refrigeration units, and specialized drying chambers designed to optimize the freeze-drying process. Its two freeze dryers, RAY® and CONRAD®, are available as batch and continuous systems for food and beverage applications. Additionally, it offers customized solutions based on the specific requirements of its clients, providing a flexible and efficient solution for freeze-drying needs.

Its freeze-drying technology involves a process known as sublimation, where water is removed from the product by converting it directly from a solid state (ice) into vapor. It begins with the product being placed into a specialized chamber, then set to a low temperature to freeze it. 

Then, a vacuum pump lowers the pressure inside the chamber, causing the ice to sublimate and vaporize. The vapor is then captured and removed from the chamber, leaving the product dry and moisture-free.

Hence, the product’s original structure, texture, and nutritional value are maintained. 

Given the advantages of this freeze-drying technology, it has various applications, including instant coffee and tea, freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, meat/seafood, prepared meals, and active components such as probiotics, enzymes, and other functional ingredients for food and health goods. (Source)(Source)

GEA’s advanced freeze-drying technology has attracted many eyeballs for the aforementioned reasons. Thus, the company has successfully obtained its third contract from food manufacturer Pol’s to deliver and install RAY® freeze-drying equipment at its 4,000 m2 fruit and vegetable freeze-drying facility in Ermenek, Karaman, Turkey. A new RAY® 125 freeze dryer will be installed at the Pol’s site as part of the new order. This would allow the company to raise its freeze-drying output from 200 to 300 tons annually. (Source)

2. Cuddon Freeze Dry

Cuddon Freeze Dry is a New Zealand-based company that develops and manufactures freeze-drying and vacuum-drying equipment. It offers freeze-drying solutions for food processing, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing, pilot research plants, and disaster recovery/document drying. Its freeze-drying technology operates on a combination of vacuum and low-temperature drying. 

The process of freeze drying by this company begins by loading the product into the freeze dryer, which is then frozen using a refrigeration system. Once the product is frozen, the pressure in the drying chamber is lowered, creating a vacuum that causes the ice to convert from its frozen state to vapor. This process effectively removes the water content from the product without melting it.

Source: Cuddon Freeze Dry

Furthermore, during the drying process, the temperature and pressure are carefully controlled to prevent damage to the product. Once the drying process is complete, the freeze-dried product is removed from the chamber and packaged for storage or transportation.

Cuddon Freeze Dry technology allows for a more efficient and gentle freeze-drying process, resulting in high-quality freeze-dried products with extended shelf life. A potential reason why their products are augmenting in popularity as the company claims to have over 400 freeze dryers installed worldwide. (Source)

3. Telstar

Telstar, headquartered in Spain, has multiple systems for freeze drying, and one of their primary systems is the LyoGistics Zero – a fully automated freeze-drying system. It uses a patented technology called the SMART (Sublimation Mass And Resistance Technology) system, which allows for real-time control of the entire process, optimizing performance and reducing cycle times.

The process starts with loading the product into the system, which is then frozen and subjected to a vacuum. The SMART system monitors the temperature and pressure, adjusting the process parameters as necessary to ensure optimal performance. As the ice sublimates, the vacuum pump removes the water vapor, and the leftover product is a dry solid.

The LyoGistics Zero system also includes an integrated clean-in-place (CIP) system, which ensures that the system is properly cleaned and sterilized between cycles. This helps to prevent contamination and ensures the quality of the final product.

4. Millrock Technology

Millrock Technology, based out of NY, USA, innovates in advanced freeze-dryer technology for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, and life science applications. Its freeze-drying technology utilizes a patented “Direct Energy” method, which involves the application of radiant heat to the product while in a vacuum. This process ensures that the product is heated evenly and efficiently, reducing drying times and improving product quality. 

The system also features a proprietary control system that allows for precise control of the drying process, ensuring that the product is dried to the desired moisture content level. Additionally, the system includes advanced sensors and monitoring capabilities to ensure that the product is dried uniformly and that the process operates efficiently. 

5. Kemolo

Kemolo, based in China, independently designs, researches, and manufactures large-scale commercial food freeze dryers. With CE, ISO, ASME, EAC, and FDA certification, the company’s freeze dryers are adapted to local power supply 110-240V, single phase, 220-480V, three phases, 50/60Hz. 

Its freeze-drying technology works by freezing the product using a special freeze-dryer machine. Once the product is frozen, it is placed in a vacuum chamber, where through sublimation, the frozen water inside the product is converted from solid to vapor, bypassing the need to be in its liquid phase. 

This method of freeze-drying helps to retain the structure and nutritional value of the product while also extending its shelf life.

Kemolo’s freeze-drying equipment is designed to be efficient and reliable, with advanced features such as automatic control systems, touchscreen interfaces, and adjustable temperature and pressure settings. Their equipment is also customizable to meet the specific needs of their clients, such as larger chamber sizes, special coatings, and custom configurations. (Source)(Source)(Source)

That was it for the innovating giants of freeze-drying technology! Now, let’s talk about the start-ups that are working on it. 

Startups working in Freeze Drying Technology

1. Lyofresh Technologies

Based in Ontario, Lyofresh is a startup that is focusing on creating a low-cost freeze-dryer by utilizing breakthroughs in drying technologies to boost productivity and reduce the obstacles to freeze-drying adoption worldwide. 

Lyofresh Technologies’ freeze drying technology, called LyoDry, works by initially loading the product to be dried onto trays or shelves and then placing them into the freeze dryer chamber. The chamber is then evacuated with a vacuum to remove any air and moisture. The product is then frozen to a temperature below its triple point, transforming from a solid to a gas without going through the liquid phase through sublimation.

The LyoDry technology uses a unique process incorporating radiant and conductive heating to enhance energy transfer, allowing faster and more efficient drying times. The system can also automatically control the drying process, monitoring the product temperature and pressure to optimize the cycle time and ensure consistency in the final product.

This company’s freeze-drying technology is used in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and food processing, since it is suitable for drying heat-sensitive products, such as proteins and enzymes, as well as delicate and fragile materials. Additionally, Lyofresh Technologies offers customized solutions to meet specific customer requirements, such as scale-up capabilities, remote monitoring and control, and fully automated systems. (Source)(Source)

2. Freeze Drying Systems Pvt. Ltd.

Freeze Drying Systems Pvt. Ltd. offers a range of freeze-drying solutions for various applications such as food, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and more. Its freeze-drying technology works by first freezing the product to be dried and then placing it into a vacuum chamber. The vacuum chamber is then heated, and the frozen water in the product sublimates, which means it turns from a solid to a vapor without passing through the liquid phase. 

This process removes the moisture from the product and preserves its texture, taste, and nutritional content. The final product is a dry powder that can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. Freeze Drying Systems Pvt. Ltd. offers tailored based on the specific requirements of their clients and their products.

The company has a vast catalog to suit various needs, including high-quality Food Preserving dryers, Industrial Lyophilizers, Commercial Lyophilizers, Laboratory Freeze Dryers, Vacuum Food Freeze Dryers, and Food Drying machines.s. (Source)(Source)(Source)

3. Innovative Freeze-Dried Food

Innovative Freeze-Dried Food (IFDF) is a diversified food freeze-dryer start-up based in Ferndale, Washington.

The IFDF facility is one of the most recent and productive drying systems. It comes with an innovative overhead trolley-based conveyance system for optimal ingredient inflow and outflow, which aids production in their freeze dryers.

The process of this freeze-drying technology begins by freezing the food to a very low temperature, which turns the water content into ice. The food is placed into a vacuum chamber, and the air pressure is very low. The ice crystals in the food are then turned into a vapor, which is removed from the chamber. This process leaves the food dry and lightweight, with a shelf life of up to 25 years.

Innovative Freeze-Dried Food technology is designed to preserve the food’s nutritional value, taste, and texture. The low-temperature process ensures the food retains its original color, flavor, and texture. The freeze-drying process also helps preserve the food’s nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. 

Innovative Freeze-Dried Food offers a range of freeze-dried products, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and meals. The company also offers custom freeze-drying services for customers who want to preserve their own food. (Source)(Source)

Future Outlook

Freeze-drying technology has come a long way since its inception and continues to evolve and improve. From portable freeze-drying devices to AI-optimized processes and new applications for biologics and complex materials, exciting developments in the field can transform the industry and enhance product quality. 

In addition, analyzing the patent landscape has revealed key trends that may shape the future of freeze-drying technology. Furthermore, patent analysis has shown a focus on developing more sustainable and environmental-friendly freeze-drying technologies. Startups and companies are exploring alternative energy sources and reducing waste to create a more sustainable freeze-drying industry.

While keeping up with the ongoing innovation in freeze-drying technology can be overwhelming, as an R&D head, it is also crucial. Keeping an eye on the trends in this domain can help you gain a competitive advantage and position your company as the leader in the industry. 

To learn more about such trends in Food Tech, we encourage you to request our exclusive report by filling out the form below.

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