On the Cutting Edge of Vacuum Blending
The founder of Blendtec, Tom Dickson, has approximately 900,000 subscribers and 500,000,000 views for his viral “Will It Blend?” videos from over eleven years ago. Viewers delighted in the visual carnage as he blended various heavy duty items, such as cellphones and marbles, to demonstrate the power and integrity of Blendtec products. The videos became a marketing campaign which did wonders for the company’s growing reputation.
Blendtec continues to expand its presence globally and develop new, innovative products to enhance its high quality kitchen appliances. The future of the blending industry is vacuum blending, and this represents its most recent area of focus. When a vacuum pump is used on a blender jar, the oxygen is removed from the product, which creates a superior and healthier drink. The very color of a vacuum-blended smoothie is much more vibrant, it is more nutritious, and it does not separate as it does with a standard blender that creates air bubbles during the process.
“A vacuum-blended drink is a whole new experience. The flavor is better, the color is better, the texture is better, and it doesn’t separate. If I blend without a vacuum, within minutes it’s going to start separating and you’ll have the clear liquid in the very bottom and the lighter aerated material that has been oxidized up above,” says Tom.
Vacuum blending removes oxygen, which helps polyphenols remain intact and preserves antioxidants. “Tescom in Japan in 2013 claimed that there’s 3.2 times more polyphenols and antioxidants in a vacuum blended drink,” says Tom, who is in the process of completing his own similar study using blueberries.
Blendtec created its vacuum blending system after years of research and development, and will release it to the market next month. It has developed numerous different lids for various blender types and it is the only company in the world that offers a non-vented lid with no hole at the top. The lid is quite rigid, to handle the pressure that the vacuum puts on the walls of the jar. Above the lid sits a square dome about one and a half inches high with an efficient seal around it and a hose that plugs into an external pump to pull the vacuum through the dome. This allows Blendtec’s three quart WildSide Jar to be fully stuffed with food and/or liquid without the risk of ruining the pump.
If the dome, which holds about one cup, somehow overflows into the hose and the pump, it will be pushed out onto the counter through a small exhaust pipe on the side of the vacuum pump attachment, and the pump is fully cleanable with water. “If your pump gets full of smoothie, you can take that dome off your lid, put it under the faucet, and turn the pump on to can clean it out. In other words, this pump will pump water just like it pulled all the air out of your drink. It is the only system that’s cleanable and that doesn’t ruin your blender,” explains Tom. Furthermore, if the vacuum pump is ruined for some unforeseen reason, it is only an attachment, which is replaceable, and the entire machine hasn’t been wasted as a result.
Blendtec jars include a blunt blade to reduce cuts and pokes while still pulverizing ingredients. ”This blade is twice as thick as most competitors’ blades, and it’s very ductile,” says Tom. “The reason our blade doesn’t break is because it’s cold forged on a 300 ton press.” Blendtec hardens the surgical steel by compressing it on its press at its headquarters in Utah. Standard Dye International, based in Livonia, MI, also fabricates Blendtec blades, and has proven to be one of the only companies in the country with the expertise to produce the proprietary blade.
Blendtec decided to modify its WildSide Jar to fit onto the competitor’s blender, which has a wider base and a blade that spins counterclockwise, and boldly named it the Rebel Jar. The Rebel Jar will also work with the vacuum attachment and the entire assembly fits inside the jar including the AC/DC adapter, the vacuum pump, and the dome that seals on top.
Dedicated to being the best in the business, Blendtec understands the need to test, and test, and test again. It operates what it lovingly calls a “torture chamber” where it runs numerous blenders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to test and study their capabilities. Its tests claim to show that competitors’ blenders often last less than 10,000 cycles, whereas its own Stealth Vacuum Blender with a brushless motor will last for over 200,000 cycles, and Blendtec blenders with brushed motors will last over 30,000 cycles.
And its testing regime does more than help optimize the mechanical capabilities; it also promotes innovation in usability and convenience. The ability to clean the jar efficiently, for example, is a priority. “All other blenders have a criss-cross blade that is hard to get the product out from underneath to clean the jar, and we have a single blade with winglets just like an airplane so you can get down on both sides of that blade,” says Tom. To support this, Blendtec has designed two spatulas; the spatula designed for the Twister Jar has a unique shape that allows all of the product to be removed from the jar. When cleaning, the blade’s tips spin over 300 miles an hour, and the resulting forces push any residue on the blade onto the side of the jar for easy removal. The spatula made for the WildSide Jar is flat on the bottom and reaches every surface of the square bottomed jar.
Jarless blending, and blending in to-go cups, has taken off in popularity commercially because no material is wasted and there are no jars to wash afterward, resulting in cost savings for the company. Jarless blending is also available for the home using Blendtec Go, the first disposable blend-in-cup option with Blendtec’s powerful blades. This blender provides the option of reusing the 34 oz. single serve container, or blending directly into a disposable cup using the micronizer blade attachment once it is placed inside the container. The disposable cup can range in size from 12 oz. to 32 oz.
With the vacuum system comes with unique, additional equipment to be used for sous vide – a method of cooking where food is placed inside a plastic bag, vacuum sealed, and placed inside a bath of water with a regulated temperature that is typically much lower than used in standard cooking. It is becoming a popular trend in restaurants because it can be prepared perfectly beforehand and then seared just before serving. Blendtec’s vacuum attachment system can also be used for food storage, which helps prevent freezer burn and helps keep fresh food in the fridge for weeks rather than days.
Blendtec has true American values and it strives to create an environment that is positive for its employees and the community. The staff at Blendtec is fortunate to work in a place with many amenities directly on the job site. It has its own medical center staffed by a doctor and a nurse, it has a fitness center, and it has a bistro style restaurant where all of the neighbors are welcome as well.
But above and beyond the pride Tom takes in his product and his team, he is also proud to do all of this at home. “We can get copper out of the second largest man made hole in the planet, which is in Utah, we draw it into wire and then we wind our own motors in eight seconds and we can make a finished home blender, completely in America. We make all of our own plastic parts, all of our own metal parts, and all the circuit boards right here at Blendtec,” says Tom.
Consumers and businesses looking for the best tasting, healthiest, and most colourful drinks will choose Blendtec’s vacuum blender, and discover the many other possibilities that are offered by the innovative product.