Microencapsulation in the Food Industry

Microencapsulation in the Food Industry

In the constant evolution of the food industry, the search for innovative technologies to improve products’ stability, durability, and functionality has been a continuous challenge. Microencapsulation emerges as an essential tool to protect ingredients and additives from biological and environmental factors and to meet challenges or optimize production processes.

This technique is not only applied in the food industry but also in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, especially relevant in areas such as health and nutrition, where stability, efficacy, and bioavailability of active compounds, such as minerals, vitamins, preservatives, etc., are demanded, which, in their free form, are vulnerable to factors such as humidity, heat, light, and oxygen, among others1,2.

What is Microencapsulation, and how does it work?

Microencapsulation is a process that allows for the encapsulation of solids, liquids, and even gases, involving the coating of small particles with a coating, generating microcapsules ranging from 1 to 1000 μm3,4. These “microcapsules” contain a “shell,” which is the structure formed by the microencapsulating agent, which wraps around the “core” or microencapsulated substance5.

In this sense, microencapsulation is a protective shield that minimizes or avoids undesired reactions with other food components. The wall protects the core against deterioration and allows it to withstand processing conditions, improve attributes such as aroma and flavor, increase its stability, retain its nutritional value or bioavailability, and, in many cases, extend its shelf life. At the same time, it can promote the controlled release of the encapsulated molecule under specific conditions5.

Successful development of a specific encapsulation system for a particular application depends to a large extent on a solid understanding of the stability of components and biomolecules4.

Applications and Benefits of Microencapsulation

This technique has been applied in a versatile way in the food industry and has many benefits. Generally speaking, microencapsulation has made it possible to hide undesirable organoleptic attributes in food products, improve the solubility, dispersion, and fluidity of additives, and preserve the biological functional characteristics of active compounds even after ingestion1.

For some years now, the Spanish company VEDEQSA® under the MIRCAP® brand has incorporated into the market a line of products based on this technology for applications in the bakery, tortillas, confectionery, and meat products, and has become a key player in the production of solutions aimed at:

  1. The protection of the active ingredient against interaction with other components and modification of its characteristics due to external influences
  2. Controlling the release properties of the active ingredient for the best manufacturing processes.

Applications of MIRCAP® products

  • Bakery: The encapsulation of sorbic acid prevents its interaction with yeast during kneading and fermentation, thus reducing fermentation time and preservative consumption. Consequently, it increases shelf life using the same amount of free sorbic acid and increases the volume of the dough and bread compared to unencapsulated sorbic acid.
  • Tortillas: In tortillas, MIRCAP® technology permits the release of acid exclusively during pressing and cooking, generating optimal acidification of the tortilla and an increase in its shelf life. It allows you to obtain more flexible tortillas, improving thickness and opacity and preventing them from sticking.
  • Confectionery and candies: VEDEQSA® has micro-encapsulated citric acid and malic acid. These, being protected, reduce their wetting during the industrial process and storage, improve the organoleptic impact of the acid taste, and avoid acid migration in the gum and chemical reactions with other ingredients, such as sugar.
  • Meat Products: VEDEQSA® develops and produces microencapsulated citric acid to enhance the appearance and taste of meat products. These allow for controlled pH decrease during fermentation in cured and ready-to-eat meats, achieving progressive acidification. It prevents unwanted chemical reactions with the meat matrix, such as protein denaturation compared to non-microencapsulated acids. All this enables greater efficiency and consistency during manufacturing, reducing production time compared to fermentation processes based on starter cultures.


Microencapsulation represents an excellent example of microtechnology applications in food science. Its application is transversal in the different food categories and matrices, and its use has generated health benefits and better industrial handling of ingredients and additives.

At Mathiesen, we have the support and expertise of our ally VEDEQSA, a leader in micro-encapsulated products, and we are ready to support you in any development or application where this advanced technology can be the best solution.

If you want more information, do not hesitate to contact us!


  • Dias MI, Ferreira IC, Barreiro MF. Microencapsulation of bioactives for food applications. Food Funct. 2015 Apr;6(4):1035-52. doi: 10.1039/c4fo01175a. PMID: 25710906. 
  • Adem Gharsallaoui, Gaëlle Roudaut, Odile Chambin, Andrée Voilley, Rémi Saurel, Applications of spray-drying in microencapsulation of food ingredients: An overview, Food Research International, Volume 40, Issue 9, 2007, Pages 1107-1121, ISSN 0963-9969. 
  • Sofía G. Brignone, Soledad Ravetti y Santiago D. Palma. Microencapsulación, recubrimiento de sistemas particulados de uso farmacéutico. Pharmaceutical Technology. Edición Sudamérica, 2020 – N º165. 
  • Filomena Nazzaro, Pierangelo Orlando, Florinda Fratianni, Raffaele Coppola, Microencapsulation in food science and biotechnology, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, Volume 23, Issue 2, 2012, Pages 182-186, ISSN 0958-1669. 
  • Madene, A., J. Scher, and S. Desobry. 2006. Flavour encapsulation and controlled release – a review. International Journal of Food Science and Technology 4(1):1-21, 2006.