Calcium carbonate promises a range of technological and dietary advantages



By Carolina Diaz Quijano*

Powders for food applications are ever-present in everyday life – think salt, sugar and spices, for example – and represent a large proportion of the total processed food in the world. There are several reasons for this, including low bulk weight, ease of transport and storage, and relatively high stability. The powdered drinks category is undergoing rapid transformation, too, as a result of exciting new innovations and an increase in the number of people enjoying walking, trekking and camping holidays. According to analyst Market Data Forecast, the powdered soft drinks market – valued at an estimated at 10.4bn USD in 2020 – is expected to expand at a CAGR of 2.8 per cent to 12.2bn USD by 2026. Furthermore, the global fruit powder market alone is poised to register a CAGR of 4.15% during the forecast period (2020- 2025). 

However, during processing, powders are subjected to different  stresses that will impact their flowability, such as mixing, storing, dosing and conveying. When caking occurs, powders are transformed into a sticky, undesirable material as a result of their hygroscopic (a tendency to absorb moisture from the air) behaviour. This not only results in loss of functionality but also negatively impacts quality. To prevent this, the use of anticaking agents is necessary. Calcium carbonate is one such solution, as it is a natural ingredient combining excellent performance with other advantageous properties.

Highly Effective And Multifunctional

Besides being a highly effective anti- caking aid, calcium carbonate minerals support extrusion, act as a white pigment for coatings, provide texture and volume, and are also suitable for nutritional

fortification. Furthermore, as consumers are increasingly demanding natural and clean label ingredients, food producers are keen to reformulate with non-artificial but multifunctional alternatives. Here, calcium carbonates perfectly fit the bill.

With more than 130 years of expertise with this natural raw material, Omya has developed special techniques to process these particles in order for them to fulfil numerous functions in both food and beverages.

Omya Calcipur® and Omyafood® are multifunctional, anti-caking solutions that help prevent the grouping of powder particles during processing, transportation and storage. When the ingredient is added to powder, it embraces the particles and reduces their adhesive forces, thus preventing lumps. In short, it absorbs moisture and oil while maintaining its stability, and so can be easily processed. And as well as powdery products, the particles can also be used to prevent grated cheese clumping and stop cheese slices sticking together. But the ingredients are not solely suitable as anti-caking agents in powdery food products – including table salt and salt replacements, packet soup, cocoa products, milk and milk protein powders – as they also boost the nutritional profile of end products.

First choice for fortification Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It is not only essential for healthy bones and teeth, but also necessary for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signalling and hormonal secretion.

Adequate, lifelong dietary calcium intake is necessary to support bone health. And as a consequence, calcium fortified foods and drinks have become mainstream. That’s because they allow consumers to easily achieve recommended daily intake levels of calcium without impacting individual eating and drinking habits.
Omya’s calcium carbonates are an excellent choice for fortifying dairy and non-dairy drinks, and certain foods, thus optimizing the nutritional value of the end product. With a calcium content of approximately 40%, Omya Calcipur® is an excellent source of this mineral. And compared with other available technical solutions, up to five times less Calcipur® is required to obtain the same calcium dose in a finished foodstuff. That makes it perfect for minimising the cost of supplementation while enabling promising positioning opportunities in the bone health sector.

It can be used to enrich breads, bread rolls, tortillas, snack bars and bagels, for example, and is a perfect match for the calcium fortification of fine baked goods such as biscuits and cookies. There is also great potential for products that are already perceived to be healthy, such as breakfast cookies, which are designed to be easy to eat on-thego and provide valuable nutrients and satiety at the same time. These applications can be easily fortified with calcium by replacing the corresponding amount of fl our with Omya Calcipur®. By replacing 600mg of flour in a single 35g bread roll, a calcium dose of 240mg can be achieved, enabling an “excellent source of calcium” claim to be used.

Besides bakery and confectionery produce, calcium carbonate offers a further desirable quality that is useful for the snack market: The ingredient is able to intensify the perception of sweet or salty, enabling a reduction in the amount of sugar and salt required. The finished product therefore boasts a better health profile without loss of taste or texture.

Finally, as they are guaranteed nonnano materials and hypoallergenic, Omya Calcipur® and Omyafood® meet strict safety criteria. They are also compliant with stringent regulations that ensure any heavy metal contaminants are kept to an absolute minimum -a vital consideration for food and drink manufacturers, particularly producers of infant foods.


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 Switzerland-based company Omya has established itself as a leading global supplier of naturally derived calcium

carbonate and owns mineral deposits all over the world, ensuring continuous availability. Thanks to a thorough

selection process, the company ensures that the concentrations of heavy metals in their raw materials are

significantly lower than the legal thresholds. Using the latest technology, the minerals can be processed for a wide range of purposes and applications; particle sizes and functionalities can be adjusted according to individual demand, for example. 

Customers benefit from the company’s strong commitment to R&D, including a state-of the art lab, patented products and application know-how. Experts are always available to discuss specific customer requirements. And, to keep abreast of current developments, science- based collaborations with universities and institutes form a substantial part of their business. In addition to calcium carbonates, Omya also has a distribution business with a huge range of different ingredients. As a result, holistic solutions and innovative product concepts are brought to life by combining employee experience with deep application-related insight and knowledge, high quality ingredients and working closely with customers.