New partnership targets personalised functional ingredients

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

New partnership targets personalised functional ingredients

Related tags: Blendhub, Nucaps, personalised nutrition

Spain’s food production network, Blendhub has signed a strategic partnership with Nucaps, nanotechnology experts, to develop personalised functional ingredients.

Blendhub indicated its intention to expand into personalised products last year when it began collaborating with Portuguese consultancy, Qina, to create an “ecosystem​” for the development of personalised products for food and pharmaceutical industries.

This latest agreement adds momentum to the project and the two companies will share technical resources, infrastructure, and knowledge to tap into growth markets in nutrition and health.

Infant nutrition and supplements have both been mentioned as possible sectors of interest.

Nucaps has developed encapsulation technology that produces nanocapsules and biocapsules for bioactives and probiotics.

These could provide the delivery vehicle for future functional solutions, with end-products designed and developed to market specifications using Blendhub’s Food-as-a-Service platform, which expediates the design, production, and launch of powdered food products.

Blendhub’s platform enables customers to develop products at a local level by harnessing its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) network of food production hubs.

The system ensures raw materials are sourced locally and also facilitates validation of new ingredients and formulations through Chemometric Brain’s Software-as-a-service portal.

Dynamic development

Blendhub founder and CEO, Henrik Stamm Kristensen, created the multi-localised network to optimise sourcing and production to allow producers to decrease overall costs and risks, and develop high-quality food.

The network relies on an open and transparent collaboration with multiple stakeholders, which enables products to be launched quickly, using a simplified industrial process to reach new global markets.

The company is “nonconformist and ambitious​” and aims to achieve a more “efficient, safe and sustainable way of making healthy and nutritious food available to more people in more places​”.

Kristensen believes the business model will fuel local economies while reducing consumption of fossil fuels since powdered food can help mitigate the environmental impact of fresh food production.

Consumers will also benefit through lower retail prices as a result of supply chain efficiencies.

The powdered food format already accounts for around 40% of food consumption (flour, cocoa, coffee, sugar, spices, etc). It is versatile and offers better and safer nutrition, according to the company.

Technical competences

Nucaps encapsulation technology was created by a team of Spanish researchers at the University of Navarra, the National Centre for Technology and Food Safety (CNTA) and pharmaceutical company, IDIFARMA.

The technology is used to develop nanocapsules and biocapsules for powdered bioactive and probiotic ingredients.

Capsules are made using natural proteins that preserve the active ingredients, offering greater efficacy and stability and contain no preservatives.

The technology can be adapted to develop personalised products from a range of substances including antioxidants, probiotics, flavours, essential oils, vitamins, anticarcinogens and for diverse applications.

For example, to strengthen the immune system, prevent obesity, regulate metabolism, or delay ageing.

Blendhub, meanwhile, provides a complete range of services for the development of customised powder food blends, across four continents.

Development platforms are cloud-connected and share specialised software for validation and online quality control of ingredients and final products.

The system operates on a tailor-made, pay-per-use system for food production services to develop and launch products without the need for investment in infrastructure.

The network of local production hubs must comply with identical processes using the same proprietary technology in blending and quality control (global replication model). All ingredients are source locally.

Sectors include cheese, dairy, bakery, beverages, complete nutrition, plant-based, sugar & confectionery, and meat. The company’s client base includes SMEs, start-ups, as well as multinationals.

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