Encapsulation for addition or subtraction

by Jeff Gelski
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Among the potential bene-fits of encapsulating ingredients, increasing the omega-3 fatty acid content of products and removing sodium remains near the top of the list. Examples of how to do both will be on display during the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and expo June 25-28 in Las Vegas.
According to the 2011 ed-ition of “Consumer attitudes about nutrition” from the United Soybean Board, 79% of consumers viewed omega-3 fatty acids as very/somewhat healthy, which was up from
76% in 2010 and 75% in 2009.

The Wright Group, Crowley, La., at the I.F.T. event will feature pizza with microencapsulated omega-3 fatty acid fish oil, vitamins, minerals and the company’s Wrise encapsulated chemical leavening system. A sports nutrition bar also will contain microencapsulated branch-chain amino acids, Q-10, omega-3 fatty acid fish oil, vitamins and minerals.

The Wright Group uses a SuperCoat encapsulation system to envelop active ingredients in a protective multi-functional coating. SuperCoat is formulated through a Super Micro Atomization Retention Technology process. It masks unpleasant tastes, odor and mouthfeel of vitamins, minerals and nutraceuticals.

“The Wright Group is constantly looking at new shell materials and processing methods for custom micro-encapsulation,” said Sam Wright IV, president and chief executive officer. “Some of the more promising new areas are micro-emulsions used in creating ingredient systems for clear beverages. We are also exploring ways in which to encapsulate multiple ingredients simultaneously as well as specialized methods for sensitive ingredients like probiotics and enzymes.”

Balchem Encapsulates, New Hampton, N.Y., at I.F.T. will showcase how to leverage microencapsulation technology to deliver sodium-free or reduced-sodium baking pow-ders, said Kristine Lukasik, manager of scientific and regulatory affairs, food and nutritional ingredients.

Companies, when reducing sodium in products, often still take a stealth approach, or do not promote the reduction, she said. They think consumers may question the taste of a product if they know it’s a lower sodium version.

Still, according to the 2012 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, 57% of respondents made an effort to compare sodium in foods and choose the foods with lower numbers. Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Washington, conducted the survey by contacting 1,057 Americans aged 18 to 80 from April 3-13.

Ms. Lukasik said micro-encapsulation may allow soluble acids to work as drop-in replacements of sodium-containing acids, such as sodium acid pyrophosphate, typically used in leavening systems.

Fumaric acid also may be encapsulated, she said. The encapsulation will keep the acid from reacting too early, such as in dough mixing, which may lead to malformed products, such as tortillas. The encapsulation keeps the acid segregated from the dough.

Encapsulating ingredients gen-erally will be part of a value-added strategy, she said, but companies should know about ways to keep costs down. For example, a key point is not how much coating is applied to encapsulate an ingredient but instead how well the coating is applied.

“You want to protect it with as little coating as possible,” Ms. Lukasik said.

Study finds benefits in walnut oil encapsulation

Oils extracted from walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids and tocopherols, a kind of vitamin E. The low stability of walnut oil, however, makes it difficult to add to processed foods.

A study that involved encapsulating walnut oil appeared on-line May 12 in Food Research International. Researchers from the Universidad de Extremada in Badajoz, Spain, wanted to see if walnut oil in microencapsulated form would be protected from food processing and then released after consumption by the digestive process. In the study, 90% of the encapsulated oil was released from the capsule after in vitro digestion.

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