Food Processors: An Overview

Food processors expedite preparation of fruit, vegetables and other ingredients, saving time and labor, while enhancing productivity and consistency.

While bowl cutters represent the type of food processor most people are familiar with, this product category also includes vertical cutter mixers and units that shred, dice, julienne, etc.

Bowl-style units include a closed bowl to chop, mix or emulsify product. With a continuous-feed processor, culinary staff feed product continuously into the unit, which dices, slices, shreds, grates or juliennes. A combination food processor features interchangeable heads and combines the operating features of the bowl and continuous-feed units.

Gear or direct drive units have the bowl sitting over the motor while belt-driven processors locate the bowl away from the motor housing. These units have one-, two- or variable-speed controls for a variety of tasks. The higher the number of revolutions per minute the less precise the cut. Most food processors run at between 320 and 350 rpms.

The majority of food processors are for tabletop use. These units are typically 1 sq. ft. or 2 sq. ft. Most high-volume food processors attach to a base, although these units can also be mobile. Floor models can prepare up to 1,400 lbs. 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.

Commercial food processors are constructed of both polycarbonate and stainless steel. Bowl materials include stainless, and clear or gray polycarbonate plastic. Blades are stainless steel, while processing discs are a combination of stainless and polycarbonate hubs. Continuous-feed processors include cast-aluminum feed heads. Motor housings are generally constructed of polycarbonate material.

Newer technology includes a sealing system that allows users to puree, emulsify and liquefy larger volumes in the same container without leaking into the motor or other areas.

New disc designs allow operators to accomplish different slicing or shredding sizes using one disc. Specialty machines that rotate blades in two directions simultaneously also are available.

Other recent innovations include new bowl designs, noise-reducing technology and one-touch features.
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