Product Knowledge Guide: Food Processors

In addition to the popular bowl-style units, the food processor category also consists of vertical cutter mixers and units that shred, dice, julienne, etc.


Bowl-style units include a closed bowl to chop, mix or emulsify product. With continuous-feed processors, operators feed product into the unit, which dices, slices, shreds, grates or juliennes. Combination food processors have interchangeable heads and combine the operating features of the bowl and continuous-feed units.

While gear or direct-drive units have the bowl sitting over the motor, belt-driven processors locate the bowl away from the motor housing. Most commercial countertop food processors use an induction motor as opposed to a belt-driven one.

These units have one-, two- or variable-speed controls to accommodate a variety of tasks. The higher the rpms, the less precise the cut. Most countertop food processors are single-speed and almost all of the single-speed units run at 1,725 rpm, which is
typical of an induction motor.

Foodservice operators can choose from a number of disc types, including those for slicing, shredding, French fry producing, grating, julienne, pulping and dicing. Grating discs work best with batch-bowl units but operators can use them with continuous-feed chutes. The dicing disc typically requires a continuous-feed chute for use.

Floor models can prepare up to 1,400 pounds of vegetables per hour. Bowl capacities on combination and bowl cutter food processors range from 2.5 to 7 quarts, while vertical cutter-mixer capacities are between 8 and 60 quarts.

Common Applications

  • Operators use food processors for numerous prep tasks, including chopping, dicing, grinding, slicing, shredding, grating, whipping, pureeing and emulsifying.
  • Common uses for bowl cutters include pureeing or emulsifying. Typical uses for continuous-feed and combination units include cutting, dicing, etc.

Specifying Considerations

  • Operators should determine how culinary staff will use the food processor. If they will use it to perform a variety of tasks, cutter-mixers are versatile for purees, mixing, chopping, blending and dough kneading.
  • Food type will determine the necessary horsepower, bowl size and attachments.
  • For easier cleaning and enhanced food safety, choose food processors with minimal nooks and crannies that can trap debris and harbor harmful bacteria.

New & Notable Features

  • New disc designs allow operators to accomplish different slicing or shredding sizes using one disc.
  • Other more recent innovations include new bowl designs, noise-reducing technology and one-touch features.

When to Replace

  • Belt problems: If belts are frequently slipping, need tightening often or gears are not meshing properly, a new unit is most likely necessary.
  • Cracks: Food processors with cracked bases or housings are irreparable and should be retired.
  • Changes in consistency: When processed foods' quality or consistency begins to change, the unit may need new blades, knives or cutting discs. In this case, evaluate repair cost versus replacement cost.

Maintenance Musts

  • Clean and sanitize all food processor parts in between uses with soap and water.
  • Wipe down the unit's housing with a damp cloth on a regular basis.
  • Immediately tighten slipping drive belts.
  • AC induction motors are brushless, so the motor won't burn out over time.
Related Articles