Meal replacements, energy drinks and protein boosters come in a variety of packages, one of which is a dry powdered premix. These powders are added to a liquid such as milk, water or juice, providing the consumer with a tasty, healthy, and sometimes fancy, functional beverage. They have special appeal to the health conscious consumer or those with an on-the-go lifestyle. Fortification of mixes isn’t just about one key ingredient anymore, as beverages are being developed with multiple ingredients to provide overall health solutions. Today, calcium is being added more and more to drink mixes that several years ago would not have included it.
Another favorite, especially with children, is the flavored powder that is added to milk to make a chocolate, berry, vanilla or other flavored drink. Since children in most countries no longer drink enough milk to get the recommended amount of calcium, fortifying these mixes with calcium is a way to increase the amount of calcium the child receives. In areas where drinking milk has not been customary, flavored milks can be more acceptable to those unfamiliar with the taste of cow’s milk.
Adding Calcium To a Powdered Premix
There are many reasons to choose calcium carbonate as the source of calcium in premix powders for opaque beverages. Calcium carbonate is a highly concentrated form of calcium, being 40 percent calcium by weight. It is lower in price than other sources, so is economical to use. Bioavailability of calcium from the carbonate is as high as the calcium in milk.
But note, calcium carbonate is not the fortifying choice for a clear beverage from a powdered mix. Nor is it the choice if the beverage is on the low pH, acidic side. Calcium carbonate is not soluble in water, so a liquid containing it will be opaque. If the liquid is a fruity, acid one, adding calcium carbonate will cause a reaction with the acid, generating carbon dioxide gas—causing the liquid to foam up and possibly out over the top of the glass. This might be fun for kids—but maybe not for Moms. One of the soluble calcium salts would be more appropriate.
Choosing a Specialty Minerals Precipitated Calcium Carbonate
Calcium carbonate must exhibit two important properties to be used in a powdered premix. It must disperse easily and quickly, and it should stay in suspension as long as possible, not settling out to the bottom of the glass.
Of the many shapes and sizes of precipitated calcium carbonates (PCCs) made by Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI), CalEssence® 160, ViCALity® Extra Light, Calopake® Extra Light and Sturcal™ H PCCs would be the choice when dispersibility is paramount. As you can see from this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of ViCALity® Extra Light, these scalenohedral products have an open structure. This structure helps keep particles of other, stickier, hydrophilic ingredients separated, making the whole powder easier to disperse. Their size, around 2 microns, is small enough to have good mouth feel, and good suspension in a liquid that is usually drunk in a short period of time.
These PCC grades have low bulk densities—that is, a given weight takes up more space than would the same weight of a larger or more solid particle. This can provide a larger sized package for a given weight, if desired.
If the liquid made with the powdered mix is likely to be consumed later, and better suspension is desired, then the smaller, CalEssence® 70 or ViCALity Albafil® PCC should be the choice. At 0.7 microns in median size, these products take longer to disperse, but once dispersed, they will stay in suspension longer.
The CalEssence® and ViCALity® PCCs are made in the U.S. and meet USP and FCC requirements. CalEssence® PCCs have less than 125 ppb lead, and ViCALity® PCCs have less than 500 ppb lead, important if your products must meet the requirements of California Proposition 65. Calopake® and Sturcal™ PCCs are made in the U.K. and meet EP, BP, and E170i requirements. All are certified as Kosher, and are available for export.
- Specialty Minerals Calcium Carbonates for Nutritional Supplements and Pharmaceuticals
- Download technical data sheets for Specialty Minerals products
- SMI Quality: Good Manufacturing Practices and Kosher Certification
- Lead in Calcium-Containing Products: California Proposition 65 A downloadable information sheet.
- SMI Minerals Used in Consumer Products
- What is Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC)?
- What is Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC) for Healthcare? A downloadable information sheet
- Resources and useful information for Formulators Downloadable information sheets on bioavailability, economics of formulating with calcium carbonate, and effect of particle size and shape on supplement properties.
- Osteoporosis: Anyone Can Be At Risk—Even You! A downloadable information sheet