Nanotechnology to deliver nutrients or flavors into bakery remains nascent, but that will change over the next decade, says RNI Conseil’s scientific and regulatory affairs senior consultant.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com at Vitafoods 2014 in Geneva, Carole Kohler said that for the bakery sector, nanotechnologies presented exciting delivery methods for fortification.
For bakery manufacturers there were two applications of interest, she said, the first being to use nanotechnology encapsulation for active substances.
“We could imagine the substance would be released at a precise moment, for example after the cooking of the bakery product. If the substance needs to be bioavailable for the human; for the consumption, that could be very, very interesting.”
The second application of interest was using encapsulation to deliver flavors that could be released at precise moments, enhancing the eating experience of a baked good, she said.
Regulatory hurdles to consider
However, bakery firms looking into nanotechnology materials would need to consider European regulations, she warned.
Companies would need to work with the existing food regulations – considering whether active substances are allowed in baked goods – but also check regulations on nano material use, she said.
Substances that had a technological function would fall under regulations for additives, she said, but nutritionally functional ingredients would fall under novel foods regulations.
Nanotechnology is becoming important
Kohler said that while nanotechnology wasn’t huge, it was becoming more important.
“There’s a lot of research on this technology. We’re starting to see a lot of nano ingredients/nano materials coming on to the market. It’s going out of the lab now,” she said.
“In ten years, we will see a lot of applications in food.”
It should be seriously considered
Asked if bakers should go to all the effort, considering the regulatory considerations, Kohler said: “It’s worth it, and it’s not more complicated that to get authorization for a normal additive or normal novel ingredient.”
She said the only concern was that methods, guidance and risk assessment were still at early stages. But she added that it was something the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) was working on.