Friesland's Rick Kirpestein told DairyReporter.com that the formation of Kievit Ventures would allow the group to focus solely on finding innovative new solutions for delivering natural ingredients beyond its current capabilities. "There is pressure on the entire food industry that everything should go back to being as natural as possible," he stated. "However, natural ingredients that also have functional benefits tend to be more reactive, requiring the use of encapsulation in order to be included in food products." The new division, which will operate as a separate arm of the food and ingredients supplier, could have applications for the entire food-manufacturing segment, though would also open up new areas for using microcapsules the dairy industry, for example in products like milk powders. Microcapsules are tiny particles that contain an active agent or core material surrounded by a shell or coating, and are now increasingly being used in food ingredients preparation. The technology can be used to deliver a host of ingredients - flavours, oils, peptides, amino acids, enzymes, acidulants, colours and sweeteners - in a range of food formulations, from functional foods to ice cream. As such, encapsulation of sensitive ingredients has become one of the most important and innovative applications in the food industry. Kirpestein told DairyReporter.com that encapsulation was an extremely effective, but complicated, method of providing nutritional benefits that would be best served by a dedicated industry focus. In taking the dairy industry as an example, Kirpestein said that one major focus for the new venture would be new ways of including nutritional oils like DHA omega 3 in milk powders. "The 'Holy Grail' of the baby food industry is to produce products that are as close to mothers milk as possible, for instance by including Omega 3, which is naturally present," he stated. "New ways of encapsulation increase the possibilities for the application of these nutritional fatty acids in baby food." Omega 3 is an example of a product that is not naturally stable, with encapsulation offering a means of finding new ways to use the product, according to Friesland. To this extent, new ingredients for pregnant woman would be another key area to focus on, the company said. With recent amendments to European health claim rules, Kievet Ventures hopes to supply bioactive ingredients with provable benefits to the food industry. Kievit Ventures is already operating and will assess the market for what it calls interesting new areas of ingredients development that could have feasible benefits for the nutrition market.