TiO2 alternatives: Industry ramps up clean label moves away from titanium dioxide
02 Dec 2022 --- After EU regulators deemed the European Commission decision to ban titanium dioxide a “manifest error” of assessment, the status of TiO2 is being questioned once again. However, industry has been moving away from the colorant for some time now.
Companies are finding fast alternatives to the whitening agent, as a ban on TiO2 is in full force in the EU. At the same time, its use is still allowed in the US and Canada and the UK will finalize its decision on the topic in 2023.
According to some sections of the US F&B arena, replacements require studies and regulatory filings, which take time, and reformulation cost estimates range from US$600,000 to US$1.8 million per product, depending on the complexity.
Reformulating away from TiO2
FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to Lonza and Blue California, who explain how their novel whitening agents compare to TiO2 counterparts.
“Blue California whitening agents are made from non-GMO and natural food ingredients by conventional food processing, and their powder size is not at the nano range. They are safe and vegan with clean labels,” says Dr. Cuie Yan, VP of R&D at Blue California.
“They provide similar light protection and opaqueness (whitening power) to TiO2, but redisperse much easier in the food/beverage system, precipitate much less than TiO2, and are very stable against extreme heat, pressure and pH,” she continues.
Lonza explains that because TiO2 is a unique opacifying solution, alternatives have the difficult job of matching the colorant functionality without degrading the key capsule’s performance – while also meeting regulatory requirements.
“Our TiO2-free alternative opacifying technologies were developed through our ongoing innovation. Calcium carbonate provides a translucent white look and TiO2-like protection against UV light. This solution is under our brand Capsugel Vcaps Plus White Opal,” says Julien Lamps, associate director global product management, Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients.
“Crystalized salts provide an opaque look and the same protection as TiO2 against UV-light,” with this second solution being launched in May at Vitafoods Europe.
Lamps explains that TiO2, which has been being hotly debated for several years now, ignited Lonza’s efforts to work toward finding alternatives.
“From 2019, the movement to remove titanium dioxide from food supplement applications was well and truly underway, spearheaded by France – a major market for food supplements. Anticipating this market change, Lonza proactively developed its TiO2-free capsule solutions,” he notes.
“Blue California’s clean label whitening agents have been widely used in chewing gum, capsules, candies, pastries, chocolates, coffee creamers, cake decorations, plant-based meat, protein shares, soups, sauces, and so on, as well as for the personal care and cosmetic industries,” says David Tetzlaf, marketing director at Blue California.
“Our scientists thoroughly understand the science of whitening and titanium dioxide’s mechanism for efficacy and have been working in related fields for many years. We are also well experienced in rapidly innovating at the molecular level,” adds Yan.
Industry is promptly working to reformulate away from TiO2 this year and next as clean label trends in the food and supplements space pick up pace.
Dr. Paul Lohmann will showcase its new white colorant agent formulation, which uses mineral salts, next week at FiE in Paris.
IzThe company has identified four mineral salts that showed a good performance in application tests, with the colorant having food and food supplement applications.
Earlier this year, ADM unveiled its line of PearlEdge proprietary white color solutions. The solutions are derived from natural sources, including native corn starch, and delivers brilliant, stable and uniform white coloring for a variety of F&B applications.
The micronized color solutions can be incorporated into tablets and capsules to give them a bright and shiny appearance.
Lonza also flags that its Capsugel White Gelatin is a replacement for both TiO2 and popular calcium carbonate (the most common replacement to the whitening agent).
“The opacity, or contrast ratio, of our Capsugel TiO2-free White gelatin capsules also matches the values obtained with the reference gelatin capsules colored with TiO2. Our capsules demonstrate robust dissolution performance, excellent mechanical performance and machinability,” details Lamps.
Other solutions to replace TiO2, such as Norevo’s Quick White, function by physically manipulating an ingredient’s crystal structure to reflect light in a special way that creates the color white effect.
By Marc Cervera
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