2010-2020: The Decade to Become Regular

May 23, 2010
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We have entered the decade of regularity. Yes, I am writing about the unspeakable…number-two, if you wish. Oddly, as a mom of grade-school boys, even I thought this topic was behind me…pardon the pun.



We have entered the decade of regularity. Yes, I am writing about the unspeakable…number-two, if you wish. Oddly, as a mom of grade-school boys, even I thought this topic was behind me…pardon the pun.

Fiber is best known for keeping one regular, but over the years, specific fiber ingredients have been associated with everything from heart health to preventing osteoporosis. This makes fiber intake a hot topic with many.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advisory committee will likely put an even greater emphasis on including fiber in the diet when it publishes its recommendations late this year. Washington, D.C.-based The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) takes issues with letting manufactured fiber ingredients count as fiber on the Nutrition Facts. And, according to the hot-off-the presses Packaged Facts report entitled Fiber Food Ingredients in the U.S., volume sales of fibers that have application in foods and beverages is in its infancy, making fiber one of the most opportunistic industries for food ingredient  suppliers.

According to the report, sales of all fiber food ingredients will continue to increase indefinitely, as the market for fiber-enhanced foods is underdeveloped. Further, there is a great deal of room for growth across almost all food categories, which presents an opportunity for the many different fiber food ingredients currently available to formulators.

Packaged Facts estimates that in 2004, 91% of all fiber food ingredient sales were of conventional, insoluble-type fibers. The remaining 9% share was split evenly between conventional, soluble-type fibers and emerging, novel fibers, such as inulin and fructooligosaccharide; resistant maltodextrin and starch; and soluble corn fiber. But by 2014, such novel fibers will have almost 40% share due to their functionality, versatility and health and wellness benefits.

“Twenty years ago, enriching any type of dairy product with fiber was out of the question, unless you added some whole grain granola pieces to a yogurt,” says Don Montuori, director of publishing, Marketresearch.com., Rockland, Md. “Today, these novel fiber food ingredients, most of which quantify as soluble fibers, or possess soluble fibers attributes, as in the case of some resistant starches, makes it possible for a cup of yogurt to be an “excellent source of fiber.’”

Montuori explains that dairy manufacturers have historically been good customers of conventional fiber food ingredients. “Almost every shredded cheese marketer relies on some form of cellulose to keep shreds from matting together in the package. And don’t forget no-sugar-added dairy products such as chocolate milk and ice cream. Bulking agents, which can also be a source of fiber, for example polydextrose, are necessary to ensure a desirable mouthfeel and consistency throughout shelf life.

Mountain High Yoghurt

“Gums and pectins have also historically been used in cultured dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese,” says Montuori. “These mainstream hydrocolloids are not the focus of this report. As they are typically added to formulations for structural purposes, and at the usage levels employed, do not contribute enough fiber to even be accounted for as fiber on the Nutrition Facts panel. However, there have been some recently introduced gums that are positioned as ‘fiber-enrichment ingredients.’ These ingredients have application in dairy foods and also allow for ‘natural,’ and sometimes even ‘organic’ labeling.

“As consumers become increasingly aware of the health benefits of fiber, and begin looking beyond fruits, vegetables and whole grains for fiber content, most experts expect the demand for new, safe and effective fiber ingredients from non-traditional food and non-food sources to continue to grow, along with convenient delivery systems, such as dairy foods,” concludes Montuori. “It is the fiber food ingredients going into such foods that are the focus of this report.”

All dairy foods marketers should be exploring the opportunities in fortifying their offerings with fiber. There’s no doubt that the fiber food ingredients market is booming and has become a very competitive business. It is important to understand the options, and make the best decision when choosing a fiber ingredient.

Make fiber a “regular” part of your company’s dairy foods formulations.

In summary, the ideal fiber food ingredient should meet the following requirements:

•    Have no nutritionally objectionable components;
•    Be as concentrated as possible so that minimum amounts can have a maximum physiological effect;
•    Be bland in taste, color, texture and odor;
•    Have a balanced composition (insoluble and soluble fractions) and adequate amounts of associated bioactive compounds;
•    Have a good shelf life that does not adversely affect that of the food to be formulated;
•    Be compatible with food processing;
•    Have the right, positive image in the eyes of the consumer with regard to source, wholesomeness, etc.;
•    Have the expected physiological effects; and
•    Be reasonable in price.

(Source: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, “Role of Fiber in Cardiovascular Diseases: A Review,” Volume 9, 2010)

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