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Steps to launching fortified food and beverage products [GUIDE]

Steps to launching fortified food and beverage products [GUIDE]

Posted: Tue 18th Jun 2024

Fortified foods and beverages are growing in popularity due to the increasing demand from consumers to prioritise their mental and physical health, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Creating fortified food offers food and beverage businesses a unique opportunity to develop nutritious products, meet consumer demands, diversify their product offerings and enhance their market competitiveness.

Here, we will discuss fortified foods, including their legal aspects and provide step-by-step strategies for effectively incorporating fortification into your product line.

Fortified food means that food and beverage companies voluntarily add vitamins and minerals to their products that have a nutritional or physiological effect. However, it has to follow the Regulation (EC) 1925/2006.

What is considered fortified food?

Firstly, to be classified as fortified food, vitamins and minerals can be added to your products for three reasons:

  • To improve the nutritional value of the product

  • To address common deficiencies

  • To compensate for vitamins and minerals loss during processing

If you are adding vitamins or minerals to your product for reasons other than fortification, such as preservation, your product will not be classified as fortified food. In this case, you will need to comply with the additives legislation.

Secondly, the fortified food legislation does not apply to:

These products have separate guidelines and follow their own specific legislation.

Additionally, it is not allowed to add vitamins and minerals to raw foods like fruits, vegetables, raw meat, or alcoholic beverages with more than 1.2% alcohol content.

The right documents

In Europe and the UK, there is no need to register or license fortified foods. However, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with the law.

Please note that since the UK's departure from the EU, the regulation now falls under the autonomous jurisdiction of the UK and EU, each with its own separate legal and regulatory systems.

If you want to sell your products in the UK, it is advisable to refer to the GB Vitamins Minerals and Other Substances (VMS) Register for guidance on permissible substances.

Similarly, if you intend to sell your products in the EU, the Community Register is your go-to resource.

These documents give you valuable information, including:

  • A list of vitamins and minerals that may be added to foods and their formulation

  • Prohibited substances, such as Ephedra species and Yohimbe, due to their harmful effects on health

  • Restricted substances, such as trans fats

  • The minimum amounts of vitamins and minerals required to classify a food as fortified

How to fortify food

  1. Check that the vitamins or minerals you want to add to your product are listed in Annex I of the Regulation. For example, vitamin C

  2. Select the right vitamin or mineral formulation from Annex II. This is to ensure the vitamins and minerals are in their bio-available form. For example, if you want to add vitamin C to your product, you can use different formulations including L-ascorbic acid or calcium-L-ascorbate as ingredients, which are forms of vitamin C

  3. Conform with the minimum and maximum levels and check for updates. This is to ensure the fortification has real nutritional benefits and is safe for consumption. The final product must contain a significant amount** of a vitamin or mineral during its entire shelf life

  4. Add information to your nutrition labelling. Similarly to the mandatory information on your nutrition labelling, such as protein and fat content, add:

  • The name and total amounts of the vitamins and minerals that have been added and are naturally present in your product

  • The percentage of the daily Reference Intake

  • Ensure that the nutrition information is per 100g, per 100ml, or per portion of the food

  • Include these two statements: “Reference intake of an average adult (8 400 kJ/2 000 kcal)”, and a statement indicating the importance of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle

**To calculate that significant amount you have to refer to the daily reference intake (RI) also called nutrient reference values (NRV) for vitamins and minerals.

a) Your product contains a single portion: to reach that significant amount, the vitamin or mineral must count for a minimum of 15% of the reference intake per portion. This applies to food and beverages.

b) Your product contains multiple portions and the recommended serving size is less than 100g or 100ml: the vitamin or mineral must count for a minimum of 15% of the reference intake per portion. This applies to food and beverages.

c) Your product is classified as a food and contains multiple portions with either a recommended serving size above 100g or 100ml or no service size: the vitamin or mineral must count for a minimum of 15% of the reference intake per 100g/ml.

d) Your product is classified as a beverage and contains multiple portions with either a recommended serving size above 100ml or no service size: the vitamin or mineral must count for a minimum of 7.5% of the reference intake per 100ml.

Examples

For example, you want to calculate the significant amount of vitamin C. The daily reference intake of vitamin C for an adult is 80mg/day.

  • If you have a canned drink of 250ml as one portion, you need 12mg of vitamin C in your 250ml of drink

  • If you have a block of cheese of 350g with a 30g recommended serving size, you need 12mg of vitamin C per 30g serving so 140mg in the final product

  • If you have a ready meal for one person of 400g, you need 12mg of vitamin C per 100g, so 48mg of vitamin C in the final product

  • If you have a flavoured water of 1L, you need 6mg of vitamin C per 100ml, so 60mg of vitamin C in your 1L of flavoured water

That amount applies to the total level of the vitamin or mineral, including amounts already present in the food.

Fortification is a powerful tool for enhancing the nutritional value of foods, but it comes with a responsibility to follow the rules and serve the best interests of consumers.

Calculation of nutrient values and overages

It can be difficult to know the exact amount of nutrients in the final product. However, this amount mustn't deviate significantly from what’s on the nutrition label, as the consumer could be misled.

According to the legislation, food and beverage businesses are allowed to calculate the amount of nutrients themselves without requiring laboratory analysis. This calculation should take into account factors, such as the type of product, ingredient interactions, process, packaging, storage, and shelf-life.

To compensate for any losses during shelf-life, you can use overages. This means a product contains a higher level of nutrients at the beginning compared to the label details. This is common for fat-soluble vitamins like A, D and E, which can oxidise.

Your vitamins and minerals supplier will be able to tell you the overages based on your product, packaging, and shelf-life.

Conclusion

In conclusion, food and beverage businesses have a unique opportunity to tap into the growing demand for fortified food.

By selecting appropriate nutrients, ensuring their bioavailability, complying with regulations and effectively communicating with consumers, businesses have the ability to create innovative and impactful fortified food options.

These options can greatly enhance the nutritional value of foods and beverages and improve consumers' overall health and well-being.

Aditional references

Great Britain

The EU

Relevant resources

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