Product ideas for fish oil ingredients in beverages, vitamin C in pizza and reduced-sodium baking powder in crackers all had encapsulation in common during I.F.T. 10, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo July 17-20 in Chicago.

Fish oil includes the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Consumers are recognizing omega-3 fatty acids more than some other healthy oils, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2010 Food & Health Survey.

Survey results showed 43% of consumers are trying to consume more omega-3 fatty acids, while 46% are trying to consume neither more nor less and 11% are trying to consume less. The percentages compared favorably to monounsaturated fats (8% more, 61% neither and 13% less) and polyunsaturated fats (5% more, 58% neither and 37% less). Cogent Research, Cambridge, Mass., contacted 1,024 people from April 30 to May 7 for the study, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

According to the Nielsen Co., products promoted for the presence of omega-3 fatty acids reached sales of $1,428,940,217 for the 52 weeks ended June 12, 2010, which was up 16% from $1,233,705,539 for the 52 weeks ended June 13, 2009, and compared to $967,375,181 in the 52 weeks ended June 14, 2008. The figures covered U.S. food stores with sales of more than $2 million, excluding supercenter items.

Ocean Nutrition Canada, Dartmouth, N.S., during I.F.T. 10 promoted how it has increased its ability to encapsulate EPA and DHA. The company recently acquired the marketing and distribution rights to an omega-3 fatty acid microencapsulation technology from GAT Food Essentials GmbH, Ebenfurth, Austria. The wowCAPS (water-in-oil-in-water) microencapsulation technology is self-emulsifying and stable in applications and beverages with a pH below 3.6. Potential applications include dairy products, beverages and baked foods.

Ocean Nutrition Canada already uses its own Powder-loc microencapsulation technology that uses a double shell protection system to keep the EPA and DHA locked into the microcap while keeping the smell and taste of the fish out of the food.

Also at I.F.T. 10, the Wright Group, Crowley, La., featured its SuperCoat micronutrients as a way to add omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins to applications. A whole grain pizza offered 40% of the Daily Value of vitamin C and 400 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (320 mg of DHA and 80 mg of EPA). A trail mix fruit bar provided 100% of the Daily Value of vitamin C and 50 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (33 mg of DHA and 17 mg of EPA). A gluten-free, lemon poppy seed muffin offered 200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (160 mg of DHA and 40 mg of EPA). A pomegranate cranberry clear nutritional drink provided 50% of the Daily Value of vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.

Reducing sodium is another area where microencapsulation may provide assistance. Balchem Corp., New Hampton, N.Y., at I.F.T. 10 promoted its Bakeshure Complete, a baking powder pre-balanced blend of sodium bicarbonate and encapsulated monocalcium phosphate that has been shown to decrease the sodium contributed by chemical leavening by up to 50%. The company offered Bakesure Complete as a way to reduce sodium in such applications as garlic herb cheese crackers, soda bread and chocolate walnut scones.

Edible film shows promise in aroma compound encapsulation

Edible films may play a role in aroma compound encapsulation, which protects food flavor from loss and degradative reactions like oxidations, according to a study that appeared in the May issue of Carbohydrate Polymers.

Researchers from the University of Udine and the Universite de Bourgogne-Agrosup Dijon, both in France, encapsulated different aroma compounds in a carrageenan emulsion-based edible film. The release of 10 compounds was compared to that obtained from a lipid matrix.

Carrageenan films were possible encapsulating matrixes because they showed better performance for the retention of more polar aroma compounds than the usual lipid supports. Carrageenan films were able to retain volatile compounds during film-process formation and to release gradually with time.