1. Can you tell me a little about yourself and Nanovetores?
I’m Dr. Betina, Vice-President and CTO of Nanovetores Group. My trajectory was always focused on research and it started in the scientific and technological area when I graduated in Pharmacy in Florianópolis, at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). After specializing in biosafety. I obtained a master’s degree in pharmacy and a doctorate in chemistry at the same institution.
Nanovetores is a Brazilian innovative company known for the development of nano and microencapsulated active ingredients through exclusive and natural technology. We develop high performance and safe ingredients for nutritional, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications.
A versatile company with a diverse portfolio in over 45 countries, Nanovetores’ is developing projects for nutritional applications. Our products are made in a sustainable way and our main purpose is to use technology and innovations to transform people’s lives by helping them to feel better and enjoy their lives.
Our “making the future” motto represents this by striving to make a difference using high-end and sustainable technology to focus on the wellbeing of future generations.
2. What inspired you to set up Nanovetores?
After obtaining my master’s degree, I then went to France to pursue my Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Bordeaux, where I used encapsulation systems for active ingredients and nanotechnology, along with carrying out postdoctoral research in nanosafety. With a lot of research in encapsulation technology, the seed to start the company was planted and in 2008, I founded Nanovetores.
Our understanding of the potential of this new high-end technology in different industrial segments: nanotechnology, also heavily influenced the inception of Nanovetores. As did the capacity to bring new benefits and add value to the whole production chain of many products.
3. What are people's top questions and needs when they come to you for active nutritional ingredients?
The top question is: “What are the benefits of our technology for the nutritional field?”
Customers are concerned about the stability and bioavailability of the nutrients, which is the exact problem we solve with the encapsulation technology; the possibility of a directed release in the absorption target.
The pH trigger, for example, protects the active from the stomach acid pH and releases it in alkaline pH at the intestine. The use of muco-adhesive particles also increases the permanency period of the active in the mouth cavity.
4. What are the leading trends and innovations influencing active nutritional development in Brazil? And in the wider Latin American market?
Each day people are more aware of health and well-aging. In Brazil, people are also really concerned about aesthetics and body shape. As a result, Brazilian consumers dedicate a good amount of time to exercise and eating healthier meals.
We can see the market for natural, organic and nutritional ingredients increasing more and more, as well as the demand for nutraceuticals, supplements, superfoods and functional foods. I believe it is a common trend in the wider Latin American market, not just in Brazil.
We see a lot of people concerned about eating food that is good for their bodies. We have a lot of information today regarding sugar, fat, preservatives and junk food in general. People are seeking real food.
Additionally, people nowadays look for food that is easy to consume, tasty and affordable while it also has to be nutritious and healthy. It is a challenge to combine all these characteristics in active nutritional ingredients, which is why nanotechnology is a great ally to develop new options for the nutritional market.
5. What are the main challenges when developing nano and microencapsulated active ingredients, in particular?
A core challenge is to be able to develop encapsulated systems with a good performance in terms of compatibility, as well as encapsulating high levels of the active to grant stability — and achieve this at a feasible price.
Also, companies always need to be aware of the pertinent regulatory requirements of each product category that the encapsulated active will be applied in. The release control of the encapsulated active is also challenging, yet Nanovetores' technology helps to overcome this obstacle.
6. What are the key challenges that R&D face when formulating active nutrition ingredients?
The main challenge is the demand to introduce new technologies that make food healthier, functional and versatile. However, benefits such as dose reduction, better bioavailability and palatability are advantages that nanotechnology can bring to the food industry.
7. What do consumers consider are innovative ingredients?
Innovation relates to ingredients that can combine all the benefits they are seeking, namely: High nutritional value, natural and affordable, as well as fast and practical consumption with functional actives release.
8. What are the clean and green processes that you implement to reflect your commitment to sustainability?
Our production process is based on green chemistry. It is water-based and free of organic solvents. We use natural and naturally-derived ingredients with non-aggressive preservatives that are free of parabens, sulfates and petrolatum.
We ensure safety for users and the environment through sustainability. Our capsules are biocompatible and biodegradable. We do not generate waste that may be harmful to the users nor to the environment.
9. What are the main opportunities in the active nutrition ingredient space?
Changes in consumer consumption habits such as the increased awareness of the importance of health and the benefits of eating healthily are creating new opportunities in the active nutrition ingredient space.
The market for natural and biotechnological active nutrition ingredients is expanding; people are adding more supplements and functional ingredients to their routines, for example. Consumers also like to have new options in the nutrition space, making way for innovations!
10. What do you hope to achieve in 2020?
Nanovetores is focused on bringing innovations to the active nutritional ingredients market. We are currently working on projects that create encapsulated probiotics and flavors for nutrition.
We already have validated tests in different food matrices. We are aiming to contribute to the health and nutrition needs of consumers by developing innovative active nutritional ingredients.