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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Traditional iron supplements can be off-putting due to a strong metallic taste, and they can also be hard to digest, leading to side effects like nausea and constipation. Microencapsulation may help.
Vegetarians and vegans are urged to aim for a higher iron intake because iron isn’t easily absorbed from plant sources. But traditional iron supplements can be off-putting due to a strong metallic taste, and they can also be hard to digest, leading to side effects like nausea and constipation. Iron supplier Frutarom (North Bergen, NJ) says microencapsulation may be the answer. The company is now targeting its branded, encapsulated iron, AB-Fortis, to the vegan/vegetarian market.
Encapsulation helps the iron source work nicely in food and beverages, without taste or appearance challenges, the firm says. “AB-Fortis is produced by a patented process to provide stable encapsulation with minimal release of free iron into the food matrix,” the company explains. “The spherical gelation of ferric saccharate by calcium alginate results in an encapsulated iron salt with a high (40%) iron content. Its excellent suitability for food matrices, and consumer acceptability was recently demonstrated in a successful bakery product targeted to children and launched in Spain,” it adds.
“It’s hard to increase iron intake from food alone,” said Wouter Haazen, product manager, Frutarom Health, in a press release. AB-Fortis is also suited for women of childbearing years who may be iron deficient.
With the number of product launches for vegetarians and vegans growing, and many of those launches featuring iron claims-such as for pumpkin seeds, cacao, chia, quinoa, and lentils-more marketers are looking for food-friendly iron options. “These numbers confirm the need for a high-concentration iron solution for vegan and vegetarian foods,” Haazen added.
Nutritional Outlook magazine