“Spirulina spike”: Omya’s holistic and sustainable concepts for calcium carbonates at Fi Europe 2019
10 Dec 2019 --- Swiss producer of minerals Omya presented its Calcipur range of calcium carbonate ingredients at Fi Europe held in Paris last week. With their natural origin and sustainable status, Calcipur can enhance the anti-caking quality of powders, as well as the texture and color of bakery products, cereals, extruded snacks, convenience foods and beverages. The company also exhibited a blue lentil concept made with a Calcipur shell that was naturally colored with blue spirulina. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst from the show floor, Stefan Lander, Vice President COG for Omya highlights how the blue trend is inspiring innovation, which has led to an increased demand for algae ingredients. “Spirulina is in high demand and it is proving very difficult to keep up with supply and demand,” he says.
The Calcipur range provides multiple ways of boosting both nutritional value and ease of processing in a broad variety of finished products. Being an extremely concentrated source of calcium, the high purity particles also act as a fortification agent with good bioavailability, notes Omya. This makes Calcipur an ideal solution for supporting bone health, as well as the functioning of muscles and nerves.
“We are exhibiting prototypes that we have developed in our labs containing calcium carbonate added to other distributed materials, which show the multi-functionality of calcium carbonate. For example, we have a powder drink which contains caffeine, taurine, minerals and vitamins,” Lander explains. “The calcium carbonate is a calcium source for strong bones, and additionally it acts as an anticaking agent, therefore, it has a double function.”
“We also have prototypes of extruded materials were calcium carbonate is used for proper expansion of extruded materials in products such as cookies,” Lander continues. “So calcium carbonate can act as a crystallization point, showing both technical and nutritional functionalities, for example.”
As a real all-rounder suitable for different technical processes, Calcipur positively influences sensory qualities, mouthfeel and color in various applications. When used in snacks and cereals, the particles make for better extrusion too. In addition, they improve the gelling qualities of fluids, and help to correct pH-values, notes Omya.
The minerals’ ability to intensify the taste perception of salty or sweet can be used to reduce salt and sugar content in recipes for healthier products, for example in coatings or bakery goods.
Reducing salt and sugar is a key industry theme, notes Lander. “Calcium carbonate is known to partially replace sugar and salt, it improves the impression of sugar or salt, so you need less, but the impression is still the same due to the distribution of salt and sugar,” he explains. There are two functions here, according to Lander – the calorie reduction but also the technical function were calcium carbonate stabilizes sugar coatings. “They do not melt and are more stable,” he adds.
Reducing acrylamide formation
Another important benefit of calcium carbonate is the fact that it reduces acrylamide formation, which is now demanded under EU legislation. Acrylamide is a chemical by-product that develops when starchy ingredients are fried, baked or roasted at high temperatures. Omya Calcipur also scores points for being a cost-efficient bulking agent and a natural white pigment that promotes the opacity and brilliance of colors, for instance in coatings.
“There are limits on acrylamide,” Lander continues. “For example, biscuits have an acrylamide limit of 350 micrograms. Here we have a functionality: calcium carbonate is scientifically proven in stopping the formation of acrylamide in heated materials and therefore, when you add calcium carbonate as a calcium source in reformed potato chips, it reduces the formation of acrylamide to achieve these levels or even lower,” he notes.
Omya has a high purity point, says Lander. “We can only use an extremely pure stone, and our manufacturing processes are high-level certified which can in turn help our customers with high certification levels,” he adds.
In line with the ongoing trend for calcium enrichment of foods and beverages, it is possible to develop future-proof finished products, from infant nutrition to applications targeting women and healthy agers as well as consumers looking to support overall wellbeing and avoid health problems associated with calcium deficiency.
Its high elemental calcium content of approximately 40 percent means that, compared to alternative solutions, up to five times less Calcipur is needed to achieve the same calcium dose in a finished foodstuff. This results in reduced costs and less of an impact on the sensory profile of the end product, while offering the possibility of calcium-related claims on pack.
Alongside its proprietary calcium carbonates, the company’s distribution portfolio comprises a broad range of specialty ingredients and selected additives, such as natural food colors, yeast extracts, stevia, vitamins, textured soy protein components and many other food ingredients, enabling synergistic combinations that match market trends and meet current demands.
By Elizabeth Green, with additional reporting from Missy Green in Paris
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