Exploring The Market For Fortified Food With WACKER

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

At Food Ingredients Asia 2019, the APFI team had the opportunity to catch up with Heiko Zipp, Director, Business Team Nutrition from WACKER, to gain insight into the drivers in the market for fortified food.


We are currently witnessing a market convergence of flavors, functional ingredients and nutrition in Asia. Globally, when it comes to growth markets and key market trends, health and fitness are on the rise. This trend is becoming more visible within Asia, too.

A growing number of people around the world are now adopting healthier lifestyles and turn increasingly to sports and nutrition. Nutrition plays a supportive role in sports, where athletes or gym-goers can rely on functional products like protein or carbohydrates to build muscle mass or fuel energy respectively. In recent years, attention has been moved towards other types of nutritive options such as health-promoting dietary supplements that can support healthier sports regiments and recovery.


Demand for health-promoting dietary supplements has also increased considerably due to ageing population, higher obesity rates and better health awareness. Health concerns such as diabetes, chronic lifestyle and cardiovascular diseases are becoming more apparent among family and friends around us.

Functional food solutions with positive benefits are thus getting more popular, especially natural active ingredients that have the potential to prevent certain diseases or slow the aging process. However, many promising substances are difficult to process in food production or difficult for the human body to absorb. That’s why solutions to increase the bioavailability of an ingredient are more and highly sought after. A good example here is curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties.

The problem is that curcumin is very hydrophobic and thus, isn’t normally readily absorbed in the human blood stream. But WACKER has developed a solution that considerably enhances the dispersibility—and, consequently, the bioavailability—of curcumin by means of encapsulation in cyclodextrins. A clinical study that was published in the renowned European Journal of Nutrition confirms that the bioavailability of our complexed curcumin can be increased significantly—by a factor of 40 compared to conventional curcumin extract!

Separately, it is common knowledge that having enough fresh fish, fruits, vegetables and especially olive oil can help keep our mind and body in good shape. These foods contain plant secondary metabolites, a category of substances that includes a much sought-after antioxidant called hydroxytyrosol.

Although hydroxytyrosol is already available in the market as an ingredient in dietary supplements, it is both labor- and cost- intensive to extract it traditionally from olives and olive leaves. The end product is likely to contain unknown substances and impurities. As such, the use of hydroxytyrosol in food solutions was, until recently, limited.

WACKER has now successfully developed a nature-identical version of hydroxytyrosol, marketed under HTEssence, via a new, patented synthesis route. This process improves purity with no unwanted byproducts or contaminants, allowing the active ingredient to be highly concentrated and suitable for use in functional foods and dietary supplements, such as tablets, capsules, energy bars and functional beverages.

A recent human clinical study demonstrated that our HTEssence, which is a much purer hydroxytyrosol than what is available in the market today, can significantly reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and thus lower the risk of coronary heart diseases. With the rising trend towards healthier lifestyle and disease prevention, hydroxytyrosol is seeing rapid growth in market demand and will open up entirely new possibilities for manufacturers of nutritional supplements.

Another recent trend that we are seeing today in Asia is the increase in dietary supplements with skin- lightening claims. HTEssence has a clinically proven skin- brightening effect which is comparable with vitamin C and α-arbutin.


At this year’s FI Asia, we focused on several key topics: first of all, we showcased our vegetarian-grade cyclodextrins (CAVAMAX) and vegan cysteine (FERMOPURE) for high-quality free-from solutions:

Our cyclodextrins offer impressive stabilising properties and thus enable dispensing with animal-based proteins as an emulsifier. Thus, it is possible to replace egg in diverse bakery or dessert products, or other animal-based proteins in mayonnaise or salad dressings.

Particularly here in Asia, coconut-milk powder is often used when cooking, as it’s very convenient to use. However, in many coconut-milk powder products, manufacturers add sodium caseinate to produce a stable, creamy-milky product after addition of water—and caseinate is based on milk as raw material. That’s why WACKER offers a purely vegetarian-grade alternative to caseinate in coconut-milk powders, which not only saves costs, but also enhances product properties.

Especially in bakery applications, the amino acid cysteine is often used as a dough softener and to increase the volume. Yet, many manufacturers extract cysteine from human or animal sources such as hair, feathers or pig bristles with the aid of hydrochloric acid. But WACKER’s L-cysteine is based on starch fermentation and manufactured from purely plant-based and inorganic starting materials, so it is free from animal- or human-based raw materials.

And finally, our cyclodextrins also enable food manufacturers to get rid of undesired flavor or taste, as they can mask unwanted odors, while at the same time stabilising or protecting those they want to enhance.


Dietary supplement customers are demanding the intake of supplements to be tasty and at times more like food. For example, the supplement will not be always in pills forms but could also be found in beverages, candies or snack bar forms. We also expect to see more premiumisation of food supply chain e.g. food-to-go, individualisation and personalisation of diets for wellness and indulgence. With sustainability now a hot trending topic around the world, there will be a steady increase in demand in ingredients from renewable sources and “all-natural”, no genetically modified organisms.


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