At the heart of transforming raw ingredients into food for human consumption is the mixing operation. Its main task, which other food processing steps also share, is to establish consistency. Whether a food product requires small-scale mixing by hand or high volume blending of multiple ingredients, at-home cooks and food process engineers alike know the importance of proper mixing. Even with the right amount of ingredients and flavors, a great recipe will not transform into good food unless the components are well-mixed. Taste, texture, color, appearance – these are all crucial parameters intimately influenced by the mixing process. Consumers expect that the food products they patronize will be exactly the same as the one they had last. It is easy to understand that within the food industry a high level of consistency is required not just batch-to-batch but facility-to-facility. In this market, consistency is the backbone of consumer loyalty.
Various types and styles of mixing equipment are utilized within the food industry. Their use and application are determined by the phases being mixed (liquid-liquid, solid-liquid, or solid-solid)as well as physical characteristics of the end product (like viscosity and density). In reality, many mixing technologies overlap in use and function such that certain applications can actually be successfully produced by two or more types of mixing systems. In these situations, economics rule out the more costly initial investments, but difference in efficiencies must also be taken into account. Proper mixer selection is vital to process optimization.