Patent Watch

Puffed nut future? Frito-Lay files patent for expansion method

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The two-step method involves a hydration and gun puffing step
The two-step method involves a hydration and gun puffing step

Related tags: Texture, Fruit, Frito-lay

Frito-Lay has developed a method to puff nuts and legumes for enhanced-texture snacks.

In an international patent filing, the snack major said there was a need to “provide enhanced changes to nuts and legumes which are attractive to the consumer”.

Frito-Lay outlined its two-step method which involved hydration of the nut or legume ahead of gun puffing or high-temperature dehydration.

The process, it said, could be used on a variety of nuts and legumes, including peanuts, cashews, almonds, beans and chickpeas.

“The immersing step and gun puffing step are typically carried out to produce an expanded and texturized nut product by forming blisters on an outer surface of the nut kernels and voids in a body of the nut kernels,”​ it wrote in its patent filing.

Better bite, improved flavor

Frito-Lay expanded nut

Frito-Lay said the aim was to provide a nut or legume snack with textural properties “over and above”​ what was possible using conventional coating technologies.

It said the expanded nuts seemed lighter with an airier and crispier texture compared to regular nut snacks. Mouthfeel, it said, was also be “less fatty” ​because of these textural changes

Frito-Lay said the method also enabled appearance to be altered – creating larger or cracked kernels – along with flavor in some cases by combining the hydration step with a marinating step.

“Preferably, the immersing step simultaneously hydrates and marinates at least one flavoring and/or colorant additive into at least a part of an outer layer of the nut kernel,”​ it said.

This immersion, it said, could be anywhere between one hour and 24 hours.

Roquette recently developed a starch coating technique for nuts​ that enabled manufacturers to develop alternative textures or build multi-color cracked outer layers for nuts with an ‘animal print’ pattern.


Source: WIPO Publication No. WO2015099665​ 
Published: July 2, 2015. Filed: December 23, 2013
“Production of expanded nuts”
Author: Frito-Lay North America – DV. Nunez, J. Han, D. Lykomitros, J. Campbell, R. McGarvey and CM. Stewart

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