While vitamin-fortified beverages are experiencing significant sales growth, manufacturers still face a number of challenges. For example, adding vitamins can cloud a beverage or even affect its taste and texture.
As a result, BASF was at the IFT show in New Orleans this week to demonstrate how it can help beverage makers meet increasing consumer demand for vitamin-enriched products without compromising clarity or taste.
Solu E 200 Clear for example, a water-soluble vitamin E fortification that enables manufacturers to apply high doses without affecting beverage clarity, is a new innovation that taps into the highly lucrative near-water market.
In effect, it enables manufacturers to add functionality to water and presents the possibility of achieving significant product differentiation.
"The problem with oil-soluble molecules is that they are so large," explained New Jersey-based BASF senior technical service representative John Foley.
"Vitamin E molecules for example usually have a diameter of somewhere between 400 to 1,000 nanometers. This means that they tend to be unstable, and will rise like cream in milk if placed in a beverage."
But BASF has developed the technology to achieve incredibly small vitamin E molecules only 10 nanometers in diameter. This makes them thermodynamically stable and unlikely to rise and cloud a beverage.
"There is also no impact on taste," said Foley. "When it comes to taste, vitamin E is in fact one of the most stable. The difficult vitamins are the B vitamins, as these tend to taste slightly bitter."
Water-soluble vitamin E is a yellowish, slightly viscous and transparent liquid. It is a water-soluble vitamin E product consisting of dl-alpha-topopherol, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate.
BASF says that the active ingredients conform to the applicable monographs in the current Food Chemicals Codex.
The second beverage solution on display was a beta-carotene fortification designed to help beverage manufacturers make vitamin A claims with less risk and more scope for color.
"If a drinks maker wants to make a vitamin A claim, it is safer to use the pro-vitamin A beta-carotene as high levels of vitamin A can be dangerous," explained Foley. "The other advantage of beta-carotene is that it is more stable to light."
This means that the beta-carotene solution can help manufacturers maintain the color of their products for longer.
On display at the IFT show were a range of beverages containing the beta-carotene solution. All the beverages contained 13mg of beta-carotene per liter, providing consumers with 100 percent of their recommended daily amount.
New changes to labeling rules that come into force in January have also been taken into account.
"These solutions are all allergen-free," explained Foley. "In the past, we used soy protein, but we've now gone back and reformulated all our solutions in response to both labeling concerns and consumer demands."