The nutrition found in fresh, whole foods is unparalleled. In a perfect world, we would get all that we need from fruits and vegetables while they’re still fresh. Yet in reality? We don’t.
Try as we might preserve such nutritious produce for long-term storage (especially in areas with a short growing season) it is hard it is to maintain a food’s full value beyond its average shelf-life. In other words, the benefits of that apple decline the moment it’s plucked from the tree. In the modern world, we’ve gotten pretty ingenious with preservation methods; refrigeration, drying, canning, and freezing, with some options proving more effective than others when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the food at hand.
At MegaFood, it’s the same dilemna. Working with farm-fresh foods from our amazing Farm Fresh Partners is central to our identity, however preserving the vital compounds of those foods as they make their way into the bottle isn’t easy. Each step of our process was thoughtfully created to maximize the preservation of nutrition, however no step in the process quite illustrates this like our Refractance Window Dryer.
Just like various methods of food preservation in your home kitchen aren’t equal, the same can be said when it comes to drying foods for supplements. While methods such as freeze drying and spray drying are fast and less expensive, the foods are subject to dramatic temperatures or vacuums, which decrease the amount of nutrition in the food.
For this very reason, MegaFood has invested in a unique technology called Refractance Window Drying.
What the heck is Refractance Window Drying?
So glad you asked!
Refractance Window Drying is a gentle method of dehydrating fresh whole food. It gently removes water from our foods while protecting the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients.
Refractance Window Drying does not directly expose the food to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Instead, it relies on the transfer of thermal energy from warm water to the food. It does this up until a precise point of dehydration, at which point the drying process automatically ceases.
Since Refractance Window Drying is a kinder, gentler process, it offers several advantages over other common dehydration methods such as spray or freeze drying. Because the foods are only briefly exposed to non-damaging temperatures and are never subjected to pressure or shear force, the dried food retains all the nutritional attributes of its fresh, raw-food equivalent. For instance, studies to date have demonstrated that Refractance Window® dried carrots retain dramatically more carotene than freeze-dried carrots!
Ok, but how does it work?
Science! Water is a fantastic conductor of energy - ever grab a pan out of the oven with an oven mitt that’s gotten damp? Hot stuff!
In Refractance Window Drying, we use this same principal to dry our foods. The wet FoodState Nutrient is placed on a mylar belt above a body of warm water. As the thermal energy from the water below the belt travels upwards, the water content of the foods conducts this energy through the belt and thus the food, allowing for it’s own water content to evaporate. As the food continues to travel down the belt, the amount of water in it decreases until it reaches about 3%. At this point, there is no longer enough water in the food to conduct the thermal energy from the water below the belt, and the “window” closes. The belt refracts the thermal energy back into the water rather than through the food until it reaches the end of the line. And there you have it - food gently dried to the perfect level of dehydration!
At the MegaFood manufacturing facility, we are currently installing our third Refractance Window Dryer, which will allow us to continue making the best supplements possible from the best foods we can find.