Depending on the application, the shell can be made of wax, oil, gum, starch, or cellulose. Microencapsulation is a useful tool for food, beverage and supplement manufacturers. This technique allows you to create tiny particles by encasing functional ingredients—such as plant extracts, flavors, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, vegetable and marine oils, probiotics, and enzymes—in an outer coating.
- Flavor and Odor Masking: Increases consumer acceptance by minimizing unpleasant tastes and odors associated with certain nutrients.
- Protection: From moisture, acids, ingredient interactions, heat, and exposure to oxygen.
- Precision: The stability afforded by encapsulated ingredients allows measuring and delivery of precise levels of the desired nutrient.
- Reduce Overages: To ensure a label claim is met, often higher levels or “overages” must be added to compensate for expected losses in nutrient potency that occur during processing. Given the high costs of many vitamins, these overages can eat into your profit margin over time. Encapsulation protects these nutrients, reducing losses and minimizing overages, resulting in significant cost savings.
- Release Parameters: Engineered so that the nutrient can be protected from processing losses, but can be released when desired. For instance to be released at a specified temperature, when chewed or in moisture.
- Effectiveness: Encapsulation is critical to such products as medical foods, nutraceuticals, and meal-replacement products where characteristics such as stability, bioavailability, delivery, and effectiveness are closely regulated.
- Ease of Handling: Encapsulated ingredients are dry and free-flowing.