What is Microencapsulation Technology?
Microencapsulation is a process by which we apply a protective coating called a matrix around a small particle called the core or active. The matrix keeps an active ingredient locked in and stabilized until the release of the material is desired.
- People might encapsulate in order to mask a bitter or bad taste.
- An ingredient could be encapsulated in order to provide a barrier from other ingredients.
- An ingredient might be encapsulated to provide a specific temperature release (as in a baking application), a pH release, or a sustained or modified release.
Microencapsulation in Food and Dietary Supplements for Flavor Masking and Stability of Ingredients
Microencapsulation is more than masking flavors or improving stability. encapsulation allows for changing physical properties like color or form (such as oil to powder). You can also control or delay the release of an active.
If you are interested in how microencapsulation technology is used in food, beverage, and dietary supplement formulations, please watch our 15-minute on-demand webinar designed to explain the applications and benefits of different microencapsulation technologies such as hot melt, solvent-based, aqueous, and spray drying. Electron microscope photography used in the webinar will help to illustrate the evaluation of microencapsulation.
Microencapsulation Applications and Benefits:
- There are many benefits to the food or supplement manufacturer that can be achieved through encapsulation. Knowing when to use microencapsulation and when it is not needed will make the difference in keeping price points while ensuring strong consumer appeal.
- Reduce Overages: To ensure 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 margins over time. Encapsulation protects these nutrients, reducing losses and minimizing overages. The result is significant cost savings.
- Protection: From moisture, acids, ingredient interactions, heat, and exposure to oxygen.
- Release Parameters: Engineered so that the nutrient is released when desired, for instance at a specified temperature or in the stomach for digestion.
- Flavor and Odor Masking: Increase consumer acceptance by minimizing unpleasant tastes and odors associated with certain nutrients.
- Ease of Handling: Encapsulated ingredients are dry and free-flowing.
- Precision: The stability afforded by encapsulated ingredients allows measuring and delivery of precise levels of the desired nutrient.
- 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.