Encapsulation, usually fat or starch-based, can be used to protect ingredients in food formulations. For instance, it can help prevent oxidisation of unstable ingredients, which can yield unpleasant tastes and flavours when exposed to oxygen; it can prevent unpleasant off-tastes from vitamins and minerals marring the taste of fortified products; and it can enable controlled release of flavours or nutritional ingredients.
Companies involved in encapsulation include Cargill, Maxx Performance, FrieslandCampinaKievit, Firmenich, Balchem, Blue California and Sensient.
According to the new report from Global Research Analysts Inc, the food encapsulation market will be worth come $39bn by 2015 – and it hasn’t suffered much from the economic downturn, despite the rest of the food chain experiencing some effect as reduced spending power trickled up the food supply chain.
The explanation is that the niches where encapsulation is especially helpful, such as healthy foods, the gourmet sector, and exotic flavours, are geared towards potent consumer trends such as ageing healthily and enjoyably which are attracting venture capital investment.
The report does highlight some technical areas where further R&D work is still being conducted on encapsulation. These include ensuring stability during processing and packaging, reducing the size of encapsulated particles to the micro- and even nano-scale, and enhancing bioavailability, and controlling release.
A raft of new studies recently have looked at the potential for new materials to be used for encapsulation. Pollen extract, electrospun fibres, carrageenan films and soy bio-polymers have all been subject to studies in the last year.
More details on the new report are available from http://www.strategyr.com/Food_Encapsulation_Market_Report.asp