Swiss speciality mineral producer Omya AG has indicated it
will intensify efforts to target the food industry as an end
market for calcium carbonate (CaCO3) this year.
Following its recent entry into the market for high quality
calcium carbonate in food products, the company launched an
analysis project last year into how best to improve its reach
in the sector, Stefan Lander, Omya’s vice
president of food, pharma and cosmetics, told
"We’re not starting from scratch, but there is
potential to become more active and this includes working with
regional management teams to improve sales and the
company’s distribution portfolio," Lander
However, he conceded that the company "is not yet known in
the food ingredients world".
Calcium is an essential mineral for the health of bones and
teeth and is also beneficial to nerve construction, hormones
and muscles. Nutritional scientific consensus states that
children and teenagers between the ages of nine and 18 need
1,300mg of calcium daily, while adults need 1,000-1,200mg.
The principal sources of calcium carbonate are limestone,
marble and sedimentation of crushed marine shells –
all of which are used to extract the mineral commercially.
Calcium occurs naturally in foods such as dairy products and
nuts, but can be added to other foods to enhance their
Omya operates three food-grade calcium carbonate processing
facilities, in the US, France and Turkey. Its Calcipur and
Omya-Cal brands are used as a source of calcium in fortified
foods and supplements.
The products serve a number of technical and functional
purposes beyond the primary nutritional role, including as a
whitening pigment, carrier, extrusion aid, anti-caking agent,
pH buffer and gelling agent.
But Lander describes calcium carbonate as a "versatile
product" and said the company means to reach beyond these
current functions. It is now moving into the areas of infant
nutrition and functionalised calcium carbonate (FCC).
"The infant nutrition market is increasing and becoming a
big part of our business. Natural calcium carbonate is used a
lot now to replace the precipitated product. It has very low
levels of aluminium and, as well as appealing to a natural
market, has a low carbon footprint and high purity, which is
very much in demand," Lander said.
The company describes FCC as "a new generation of minerals",
which it plans to bring to the food market under the name
"Omyafood FCC", a product that can be used as a carrier,
anti-caking agent and as a new excipient for tablet
formulations. It won the Gold Award for Best Innovation in APIs
and Excipients at the CPHI exhibition in Madrid in October last
year, owing to its "multifunctional benefits".
"Its recrystallised surface gives it a greater surface area,
which, in turn, gives it a high loading capacity and allows it
to be used as an effective carrier for many types of liquid,
including oils that need to be transferred into a powder,"
Lander said, adding: "The resultant product is easily
compressed into a tablet if required and can be used as an
anti-caking agent to capture moisture."
The production and marketing of FCC began quite recently, in
the summer of 2015, and demand for it is tipped to grow
strongly over the coming years.
Calcium occurs naturally in foods such
as dairy products, almonds and figs, but it is also
added to other food items to enhance their nutritional
value (source: Eliza Adam, via
Industrial demand to grow steadily
While the food industry is a fast expanding but presently
small volume market for calcium carbonate, the wider market for
the mineral, covering both ground ground calcium carbonate
(GCC) and precipated calcium carbonate (PCC), is expected to
grow at a stable rate over the coming years.
A recent study carried out by Transparency Market Research,
entitled "Calcium Carbonate Market Global Industry Analysis,
Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013-2019", predicted
that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for calcium
carbonate over the period will be 7%, with GCC expected to grow
at a rate of 2.9% and PCC at 3.9%.
The expansion of the market is likely to be driven by
"significant growth" in the pulp and paper and plastic
industries, with developing regions such as Latin America and
Asia Pacific providing greater demand than Europe and North
Asia Pacific, which accounted for almost 49% of the market
in 2012, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9%, fuelled by
industrial expansion in countries such as India and China.
Europe accounted for 23.7% of global demand in 2012, with
the US making up 20.7%. But the closure and restructuring of
several paper mills in these regions will most likely lead to a
sluggish demand for the material over the period, the report