To remain competitive, many food and beverage processors choose to enhance the nutritional attributes of their products.

Among the most popular minerals used to fortify foods and beverages are calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Alone, each mineral fulfills unique nutritional requirements but, when used together, the effectiveness of certain minerals can be multiplied. For example, research shows that calcium needs phosphorus to maximize its bone-strengthening benefits.

Making a Clear Difference

Cost and formulation challenges traditionally have stymied formulators' attempts to develop fortified, clear beverages. However, a calcium phosphate technology from Astaris (St. Louis) enables beverage manufacturers to cost-effectively deliver substantial levels of calcium to clear beverages, while achieving clarity, smooth mouthfeel and a clean flavor profile. Astaris' fortification technology delivers calcium and phosphorus in a ratio that helps prevent bone demineralization, allowing processors to promote their products as an excellent source of calcium.

Because soy beverages contain only one third of the calcium in cow's milk, many formulators are rushing to add this mineral to soy drinks. Calcium phosphates also enhance the nutritional value of meal replacement drinks, beverage mixes, energy bars, supplements and vitamins. New opportunities for calcium fortification also extend to soft drinks, energy drinks and bottled water.

Magnesium as a Calcium Enabler

As an essential mineral for physical health and well-being, magnesium is gaining popularity among formulators as a fortification agent. Consumers are especially interested in magnesium for its role in absorbing and utilizing calcium to support the formation of bones and teeth. Magnesium works with other formulation ingredients to balance essential minerals in products such as infant formulas, meal replacement beverages, energy drinks, dairy products and geriatric beverages. Absence or insufficient stores of magnesium can be a causative, contributing, or aggravating factor of high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, Type 2 diabetes and other conditions.

The heat created during the hydration of magnesium can result in color changes, flavor inconsistency, protein instability, and loss of temperature-sensitive vitamins, and is one of the challenges of fortifying products with the mineral. In soy beverages, magnesium can cause negative interactions with soy protein, producing off-odors and -flavors. Astaris' Mag-nificent[r] magnesium phosphate technology does not negatively interact with soy protein, nor does it heat upon hydration.

Potassium for Heart Health

While potassium is well known for its role in maintaining normal water balance, more recently, it has been recognized for its role in “heart healthy” products. As cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., many processors have sought to fortify low-sodium foods with potassium, vitamins B6, B12, C and E, and folate to achieve “heart healthy” claims. Beyond functioning as electrolytes in isotonic and sports drinks, the potassium phosphates can be used in any number of products to benefit cardiovascular and nerve health.

For example, Astaris offers phosphate ingredients that contain a 40% or greater concentration of potassium for products requiring high levels of this mineral. Where protein stabilization and pH control are concerned, Astaris' phosphates provide critical product functionality, while delivering the right level of potassium.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the synergistic effects of vitamins and minerals in food products, but formulators can hasten consumer education by communicating good health through their products and product labels.

For more information:

Astaris, Barbara Heidolph