Editor’s Note: In conjunction with its February profile of new sports foods and drinks, Prepared Foods interviewed Scott Peters, director of product development at 3i Solutions, Wooster, Ohio. 

Prepared Foods: We’re interested to learn more about sports performance related products and formulations. How 3i Solutions address this market? 

Scott Peters: Our technology delivers fat-soluble nutrients in an easily water-dispersible form for product formulators to use in various product platforms. Our VitaSperse® and VitaDry® technologies revolve around a lecithin-based nano-emulsion system that delivers several benefits.

The small size and charge of the lecithin-based nano-emulsions allow the nutrients to disperse immediately and remain dispersed indefinitely in water. Product stability and shelf-life can extend as long as three years, without ringing or precipitation.  

Due to the size of particles, nutrients are efficiently transported to the small intestines and are more readily available for absorption by the body.  This results in significantly better bioavailability per dose for the consumer.  Because the nutrients are encapsulated, they are better protected against other ingredients and the environment.

PF: Can you elaborate on your product lines in regard to their applications?

Peters: Yes indeed. VitaSperse technology is an aqueous dispersion and is best suited as an ingredient in water-based products. Product dosage forms could range from drops, to water enhancers, spoonable, shots, and RTD beverages.

Meanwhile, our 3i Solutions’ VitaDry technology is the powder form of the VitaSperse technology.   The same small nano-emulsions, but water is removed and replaced with starch.  When the starch is dissolved away, the VitaSperse particles remain in solution. This newer, dry form is best suited for capsules, gummies, drink pods, drink sticks, and protein shakes. All contain the same benefits as discussed earlier.

PF: Our February issue profiles six new sports-related beverages, foods and powders. What trends do you see in the market? 

Peters: For years, the market has concentrated mostly on protein, amino acid, and electrolytes.  I see growth in antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful free radicals formed during intense workouts. For example, more products are incorporating omega-3 oils, tocopherols, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol and curcumin.

I also see growth at the mitochondrial energy department. CoQ10 and PQQ are important supplements that help each cell create energy.  And for team sports and e-sports, I see eye health as a benefit with regards to hand-eye coordination. Key ingredients here include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, zinc and copper.

PF: What are formulators’ biggest hurdles and how do your technologies address these challenges? 

Peters: Delivery is the term I would use. By that I refer to the delivery form and the delivery efficiency of functional ingredients. As listed earlier, the fat-soluble nutrients are hard to format into beverages and foods because the whole water and oil don’t mix. Suspending a fat-soluble nutrient in a post-workout drink is challenging. It is even more challenging to supply the nutrient in a form that has substantial absorption by the body.

3i Solutions’ VitaSperse and VitaDry technologies deliver these fat-soluble nutrients in a form that can be water dispersible with the added benefit of improved absorption and bioavailability.

PF: Let’s look specifically at beverages. Can you share one or two examples of 3i Solutions work in this space?

Peters: Sure. VitaSperse and VitaDry technologies help product formulators diversify product offerings. VitaSperse—being an aqueous dispersion technology of fat-soluble nutrients—is best formatted for RTD performance beverages. VitaSperse is a stable dispersion that will not ring or settle out over time.  VitaDry is the same dispersion technology but in powdered form. It’s a perfect technology for on-the-go drink stick packs or supplementation to protein shake powders.

Because both technologies resolve around the same dispersion technology and particles, they both exhibit improved uptake and increased bioavalability over other dispersion technologies.  

I’ll note that consumers are looking for sustainable energy outside of caffeine. As a result, CoQ10 has grown in interest as the fuel required for cellular energy. VitaSperse CoQ10 has published clinical research showing enhanced absorption compared to regular CoQ10.

PF: Let’s shift briefly and ask about your product applications in sports-related foods and/or supplements. 

Peters: Our technology is equally suited for both platforms.  Many consumers probably look at sports/energy products as a form of supplementation.  Again, I’ll reference CoQ10 as an example.  The VitaSperse-Q10 technology is behind the successful Qunol Liquid CoQ10 Supplement sold in Costco, mainly marketed for its heart health benefits.  That same VitaSperse®-Q10 technology is formulated into energy shots and beverages marketed for improved energy.

Another example may be an eye-health, liquid supplement containing VitaSperse forms of lutein esters and zeaxanthin. This liquid supplement may be marketed to seniors.   Where a VitaDry version of the same ingredients may be formulated into drink powders for E-Sport drink mixes.

About 3i Solutions
3i Solutions (www.3iSolutions.com) has been refining and expanding its technology for nearly 25 years, and has the knowhow, capacity and catalog of ingredients to help any product formulator develop better products for their consumers. 3i Solutions can formulate a VitaSperse or VitaDry product specifically for a customers need or application. 3i Solutions strives to provide a path to superior, healthier products for its customers.