Frutarom Health announces AB-Fortis deal

The company has struck an agreement with AB-Biotics of Spain to be the exclusive marketer of AB-Fortis, a patented encapsulated iron system said to support vegans/vegetarians as well as women of childbearing years.

Frutarom Health announces AB-Fortis deal

Frutarom Health has announced a new approach to tackle iron deficiency in vegan and vegetarian diets.

AB-Fortis, a patented encapsulated iron system, is said to support vegans/vegetarians, as well as women of childbearing years, who the company claims commonly suffer from iron deficiency. AB-Fortis is described as a clean label, GMO-free, all-natural ingredient with a high iron content, and can be formulated into a full range of food and beverage applications.

Studies performed in young women and adults have shown that vegetarian (including vegan) men and women have lower iron stores than meat eaters, Frutarom notes.

“Because iron isn't as easily absorbed from plant sources, the recommended intake of iron for vegetarians is almost double that of non-vegetarians,” said Wouter Haazen, Product Manager for Frutarom Health. “It’s hard to increase iron intake from food alone.”

Iron is commonly recognised as a necessary nutrient for human diet, Frutarom points out. As a crucial component of red blood cells, it is vital to oxygen transport. A thorough scientific evaluation by EFSA led to the recognition that iron is a necessary nutrient that impacts energy metabolism, cognition and the immune system, among other body functions. Scientific studies demonstrate that iron deficiency leads to anaemia, causing sufferers to feel chronically tired and out of breath (even after mild exertion), as well as having heart palpitations and a pale complexion.

Traditional iron supplements have a strong metallic taste and powerful oxidative properties—both undesirable for foods, Frutarom claims, saying that they also are hard to digest, and sometimes cause nausea, constipation, gastric distress, and headaches.

AB-Fortis is produced by a patented process to provide stable encapsulation with minimal release of free iron into the food matrix. The spherical gelation of ferric saccharate by calcium alginate results in an encapsulated iron salt with a high (40%) iron content. Its suitability for food matrices and consumer acceptability was recently demonstrated in a successful bakery product targeted to children and launched in Spain by a market leader in this segment.

Global product launches positioned on a vegetarian or vegan platform have surged, with a 21% increase in 2014 over 2013, according to Innova Market Insights. Product launches of items suitable for vegetarians or vegans, and that have claims associated with iron, increased by 51% for the same period. Ingredient examples associated with iron claims include: pumpkin seeds, cacao, chia, quinoa, and lentils.

“These numbers confirm the need for a high-concentration iron solution for vegan and vegetarian foods,” said Haazen. “This microencapsulated iron ingredient allows fortification without changing appearance, palatability, or flavor of foods. AB-Fortis is stable under high pressures and temperatures, staying intact during processing. Further, it is highly bioavailable, as shown by a recent human clinical study.” AB-Fortis is produced by AB-Biotics Co. SA, Spain, and is marketed exclusively by Frutarom Health, Switzerland.