Belgian lactic acid specialist, Galactic, is refining its presence in the calcium supply chain with a “pearl-shaped” ingredient it says delivers improved bioavailability, solubility and processing capabilities.
Galactic previously marketed its calcium lactate ingredient as a powder but says the new pearl format offers uniform particle size, high dissolution speed, improved flowability and floodability and is non-dusting.
The company says it is taste and odour neutral, has a calcium content of 13.7 per cent and solubility of 9.3 per cent.
The fact the ingredient is sourced from organic salts rather than inorganic sources delivered improved bioavailability the company said, citing a supporting in vivo study published in 2007 in the journal Food Science and Technology.
Soy products, fruit juices, health bars, confectionery and baked goods are the targets for the ingredient, called Galaxium Pearls, which has the additional benefit of acting as a firming agent and elasticity improver.
The food supplements market was also being targeted by the ingredient best known for its bone health properties. Research indicates it can benefit blood coagulation, blood pressure and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
The company wouldn’t reveal the ingredient’s pricing but Galactic operational marketing coordinator, Morgane Tock, said the ingredient would be competitive with existing offerings.
Dairy-sourced calcium can sell for as little as €3 per kilogram while plant-sourced offerings can reach as much as €25 per kilogram.
The market is dominated by dairy-sourced calcium but there is growing interest in plant-sourced alternatives such as algae and seaweed which offer different nutritional profiles.
Calcium come back
The calcium-fortified foods and beverages market has lost some of the luster it possessed in the 1990s as its novelty expired, but interest in the ingredient has not fallen drastically given widespread dietary deficiencies that remain especially among children, pregnant, lactating and menopausal women and the elderly.
It is estimated 75 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women to do not achieve Recommended Dietary Intakes 9RDIs0 in the US and more than 10 million over-50 Americans suffer from osteoporosis.
The RDI for calcium in the US is 1000mg-1500mg depending on the population group.
Irish seaweed-sourced calcium supplier, Marigot, told NutraIngredients.com recently the market was experiencing a resurgence, evidenced by major food companies such as Nestlé, Danone and Unilever stressing the importance of meeting calcium RDIs and launching calcium-fortified products.
"At one stage the functional foods industry seemed to forget about the importance of calcium, as new and more exotic ingredients emerged," said Marigot commercial manager David O'Leary.
"However, the fundamental need for calcium means there will always be demand and the market is now experiencing a revival."
The market is being bolstered by demand from new areas such as China which is one of the launch markets for Galaxium Pearls along with Europe and North and South America.
Galactic said Galaxium Pearls can combat the presence of the carcinogen acrylamide, which can cause sweating, incontinence, nausea and paresthesia and has been linked to a number of cancers.
Acrylamide has been shown to reduce the nutritional availability of certain amino acids