Overcoming Zinc Oxide Interactions In A Premix Blend
The benefits of Zinc in human health are well known. As one of the 16 essential minerals, this trace element is necessary for the body’s immune system to work properly. It plays a role in DNA synthesis, cell division, cell growth, and wound healing. It aids in digestion, metabolism, nerve function, and other processes. It’s fundamental to skin health, smell and taste, and even decreases the severity and duration of the common cold.
In product fortification, the most common and cost-effective source of Zinc is Zinc Oxide. It offers a wide range of antimicrobial properties against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including major foodborne pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus.
But formulating with Zinc via Zinc Oxide is not without challenges. Zinc Oxide offers a low level of bioavailability relative to other dietary sources, and is also prone to antagonistic reactions with other dietary nutrients. For these reasons, food manufacturers are increasingly relying on microencapsulation to increase bioavailability while masking metallic taste.
Uncloaking the Real Source of One Company’s Premix Problems
A product developer from a Midwest company that specializes in fortification contacted us about an issue they were having with Zinc Oxide in a premix blend for one of their customers. The Zinc Oxide itself was coated and encapsulated by a third-party supplier. In spite of this, the company was getting complaints from the customer about metallic taste, changes in color, rancidity and loss of shelf life.
The company sent a sample of their Zinc Oxide for us to determine what was causing the suboptimal performance. Upon close examination, we noticed that the coating had tiny holes which was causing the active Zinc Oxide to leach out.
As a result, the leached Zinc Oxide contributed to the metallic taste. Interactions with the Ferrous Sulfate and Copper Sulfate contained in the formulation were also behind the rancidity and shelf life, and color issues, respectively.
Maxx sent the company a sample of our microencapsulated Zinc Oxide to test in their premix blend and after four weeks, we received feedback:
“In full disclosure, it seems your coating is far superior to what our customer was used to working with. We learned that there is a clear difference in encapsulation quality from one supplier to the next. Just because a company claims to be expert doesn’t mean they have the technology and know-how to produce a coated product that works in formulations like ours.”
Transforming Hidden Problems into Greater Product Potential
This situation we describe with the premix company reflects the classic “hidden dissatisfier” syndrome: the customer has a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution. They tend to accept suboptimal performance in spite of the headaches.
If you’re experiencing issues with your packaged food products, be proactive and contact us. Using the high-quality coating and microencapsulation technologies in the industry, we help manufacturers optimize their formulations, from A to Zinc.