The company already offered Aquamin S for beverages, but commercial manager David O'Leary told NutraIngredients.com that because it clouds the liquid, the original ingredient is only really that is only really suitable for juices, where colour is not so important.
The new variant, Aquamin Soluble, is described as "a huge step forward for [the] company" since it enables calcium fortification of a broader range of beverage products that can be targeted at all spectrums of the populations - such as sports nutrition products for athletes, carbonated drinks for youngsters, and flavoured mineral waters.
The pH of such products is generally between 3 and 6.5, but in its elemental form calcium is insoluble up to pH7. O'Leary said that Aquamin Soluble is the result of improvements in the production process and further filtration of Aquamin S. It is treated with organic acids to make it soluble in acidic conditions.
What is more, calcium is usually difficult to incorporate into foods because sandy structure that makes the product taste chalky and dry.
However Marigot's ingredient hails from red seaweed Lithothamnion Corallioides, harvested from the South West coast of Ireland under license. It has a unique porous honeycomb structure, which means that oils, fats, or any other liquids it encounters are absorbed and taste of the finished product is unaffected.
Beverages are proving to be a popular format for makers of health-oriented products, not least because they are a quick and easy way to ingest nutrients. Making ingredients soluble is a good spur for their use by food companies looking to tap this potential.
Leatherhead Food International valued the global functional soft drinks category at US$6.9bn in 2005 (using a broad definition of healthy products) and says it is growing rapidly - although the largest markets are Japan and the US, with Europe much less developed.
As for calcium, O'Leary believe its importance is often overlooked in the today's crowded food market.
"Calcium is a problem for people because of changes in their diet. Its importance is sidelined by focus on other trace minerals and trends like low-carb and acid-rich foods," he said. "Calcium seems to be forgotten about, and that leads to an increase in osteoporosis.
"The area we are focusing on is for calcium derivatives to be included in all food applications."In addition to calcium, Aquamin also contains magnesium and 70 other trace minerals, which together are said to enhance bioavailability.
Marigot's aim is to make calcium available in a broad range of products for easy delivery.
Last June it said it was testing Aquamin for use in soy beverages, so as to make the most of the opportunities afforded by the growing market for products for the lactose-intolerant.
Marigot has also said that further trials are taking place in relation to Aquamin Soluble's use in broad range of beverage applications.
"This reflects Marigot's continuing commitment to science-based research and product innovation while delivering substantiated health claims for its Aquamin range of ingredients," said the company.