Dairy foods are an ideal carrier for fiber food ingredients. This article includes bonus material not included in the print edition.

Dairy Foods talked to:

Pashen Black, marketing communications manager, Tate & Lyle
Mike Cammarata, application scientist, FMC BioPolymer
Ram Chaudhari, senior executive vice president, chief scientific officer, Fortitech
Hans-Ulrich Cordts, technical sales-dairy industry, Hydrosol
Bill Driessen, technical sales manager (Americas), Taiyo International Inc.
Angelica Horst, director-regional business BioActives, Danisco
Rodger Jonas, director of national sales, PL Thomas
Ramakanth Jonnala, research and development scientist, International Fiber Corp.
Kati Ledbetter, product development scientist, Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Christina Munteanu, senior technical services specialist, Corn Products International
Lorraine Niba, business development manager-nutrition, National Starch LLC
Mar Nieto, senior principal scientist, TIC Gums
Joseph O’Neill, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Beneo Inc.
Vince Patti, marketing, Fiberstar Inc.
David Peters, sales and marketing director, Biovelop AB
Cathy Peterson, group vice president-applications and technical services, SunOpta Ingredients Group
David Romeo, managing director, Nutraceuticals International
Scott Turowski, technical sales, Sensus America Inc.
Neelesh Varde, business development coordinator, Roquette America

The science of fiber food ingredients continues to evolve, with more benefits being discovered and additional sources identified. As a result, the fiber-enriched food and beverage market is booming, and dairy foods have been identified as an ideal carrier for fiber food ingredients.

In the 1990s, there were likely less than 20 suppliers of fiber food ingredients, and most of them were marketing conventional, insoluble-type fibers, according to the report Fiber Food Ingredients in the U.S. from Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md. Today, there are more than 50 companies supplying fiber food ingredients to U.S. food formulators. Dairy Foods talked with 19 of these suppliers to learn about the solutions they offer product developers. Here’s what they shared.

Dairy Foods: What are some key characteristics of your fiber ingredient(s)?

Black: Tate & Lyle manufactures natural prebiotic fibers from corn. There are currently two options, depending upon application and formulation goal. The original is a 70% fiber ingredient that contains 20% sugar. This low-viscous fiber can be labeled as soluble corn fiber, corn syrup or corn syrup solids on ingredient legends, making it extremely consumer friendly. The newest offering contains 85% fiber and less than 5% sugar. It is ideal for use in no-sugar-added and low-sugar products. It can be labeled as soluble corn fiber or maltodextrin. Tate & Lyle also manufactures polydextrose, a low-calorie fiber offering that provides body and texture in reduced-calorie, no-sugar-added and high-fiber foods.

Cammarata: Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is derived from naturally occurring cellulose in tree pulp. FMC customizes MCC to be used in a variety of different food applications. The products are standardized to meet specific viscosity, gelling, suspension and stabilizing properties. MCC is a good source of insoluble dietary fiber, yet contributes no, or very little calories in food systems. It is virtually inert and will not interfere or interact with other nutrients added to foods for fortification, such as vitamins and minerals. FMC also markets carrageenan and alginates, both natural sources of soluble fiber. Carrageenan is sourced from red seaweed, while alginates are extracted from brown seaweed.  They both can be customized for specific thickening, stabilizing, gelling and film-forming properties.

Chaudhari: Fortitech creates custom nutrient premixes for foods and beverages and can source many types of fiber for dairy applications. Very few ingredients offer the versatility that fiber does in the role that it can play in a variety of health conditions. The impact it can have on cardiovascular health as well as digestive health is something manufacturers should take into consideration when formulating products that address these conditions. 

Cordts: After extensive research, Hydrosol’s applications technologists have developed a special system of dietary fibers that greatly intensifies the mouthfeel of low-fat milk drinks. The new functional system consists of vegetable fibers that have been combined in such a way that the microparticles produce soft microgels with a diameter of about 100 µm. These microgels are experienced as a creamy mouthfeel. The natural fat replacement system is suitable for all dairy products that are homogenized at pressures greater than 50 bar. By this method, the fat content of the end product can be reduced by up to 50%. The ingredient is both easy to use and economical.

Driessen: Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is a source of soluble dietary fiber. It is not guar gum, as PHGG is partially hydrolyzed, and after the hydrolysis process, the physical properties are completely different. PHGG dissolves completely clear in water and does not affect viscosity at normal dosage levels. It is a prebiotic fiber because it produces high amounts of butyrates in the digestive system. Of all the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), the butyrates are the best indicators of a true prebiotic fiber because butyrates remain inside the colon and act as an energy source for intestinal villi. The other SCFAs (acetates and propionates) are also beneficial, but they are carried in the blood to be metabolized in the liver or in muscle tissue. It is important to note that SCFAs are produced via a fermentation process in the digestive system. If that process happens rapidly, it can result in uncomfortable bloating, gassiness and excessive flatulence. This is important for product formulators to understand because consumers will learn to avoid products that cause them discomfort or embarrassment in social situations. The fermentation of PHGG is extremely slow, compared to other dietary fibers. It produces high levels of the beneficial butyrates, yet without discomfort.

Horst: Danisco offers a soluble fiber called polydextrose, which can be characterized as a digestion resistant starch, specifically DP 3+. Polydextrose is a glucose polymer with a complex three-dimensional configuration. It is made from sorbitol and dextrose, both naturally occurring ingredients derived from corn and citric acid and is 80% fiber. The remaining sugars range from 0.25% to 4.0%.

Jonas: PL Thomas markets defatted chia flour, which provides 47% fiber in a soluble and insoluble blend. This product also provides a side benefit of having 3% omega oil, which is embedded in the flour to allow for a long shelf life. This bland, grain-based ingredient is normally incorporated up to 3% on a weight basis.

Jonnala: International Fiber offers a number of insoluble fibers that have application in dairy foods, in particular yogurt and other cultured dairy products. This includes cellulose, oat fiber, white wheat fiber, bamboo fiber and sugar cane fiber. Not only do they contribute fiber to the application, the right combination of ingredients can increase the apparent viscosity, contributing to stability and product consistency. Insoluble fibers also have application in frozen desserts, where they affect viscosity and shear-thinning behavior, as well as ice crystal formation for improved stability. Insoluble fibers are usually heat stable and do not break down or change under acidic conditions, pasteurization or other heat treatments encountered during dairy foods manufacturing.

Ledbetter: ADM offers digestion-resistant maltodextrin, which is a soluble corn fiber that is 90% soluble dietary fiber and contains 1.6 calories per gram. In dairy and beverage applications, the soluble corn fiber maintains the functionality of a standard maltodextrin with minimal formulation development or formulation adjustments. Soluble corn fiber was developed to offer product developers a versatile and convenient way to add soluble dietary fiber to a range of food products, including dairy foods and beverage applications.

Munteanu: Corn Products offers a range of fiber ingredients suitable for dairy products, including short-chain fructooligosaccharide (scFOS). This prebiotic soluble fiber is derived from sucrose and has a caloric contribution of 1.5 calories per gram. It allows for a wide range of claims at levels as low as 1.1 grams per serving. Another offering is galactooligosaccharide (GOS), a soluble prebiotic fiber that delivers 1.85 calories per gram. GOS is manufactured from lactose via an enzymatic process. Clinical research supports the immune health benefits of GOS, allowing manufacturers to formulate products supporting immune health. Our third offering is agave inulin, which is a novel natural soluble fiber made from the agave plant. Inulin from agave contributes 1.23 calories per gram and has a purity of 90% on a dry basis.

Niba: National Starch supplies two prebiotic soluble fibers that have been shown to have great functionality in dairy product applications: soluble corn fiber and soluble wheat fiber. These dextrin-based fibers, manufactured by Roquette, are only 2.1 calories per gram. Human studies also show that there is a reduction in glycemic response with soluble corn fiber. Clinical research demonstrates that they are fermented by various beneficial colonic bacteria to produce physiologically beneficial SCFAs, and positively impact digestive health. Most important of all, these fibers are extremely well tolerated and do not cause digestive discomfort. Short- and long-term studies show that up to 45 grams per day of soluble corn fiber or soluble wheat fiber can be consumed without causing digestive discomfort. A prebiotic claim can be made with 2.5 grams per serving of these fibers.

Nieto: TIC Gums carries both soluble and insoluble fiber food ingredients. Our soluble fibers include viscous polysaccharides such as alginates; carboxymethylcellulose; guar, konjac, locust bean, tara and xanthan gums; and pectin, and non-viscous fibers such as gum Arabic and inulin. The insoluble fibers we market include bamboo fiber, cellulose powder and MCC. These ingredients are available individually or as specialty fiber blends, depending on the customer’s specific requirements.

O’Neill: The chicory root is a rich source of inulin. The inulin component may be enzymatically hydrolyzed to form shorter chain oligofructose. Beneo offers both of these low-calorie ingredients (1.5 calories per gram). Inulin is a white, soluble powder with a neutral to slightly sweet taste and no aftertaste. Available in liquid or powder form, oligofructose is more soluble than sucrose with a moderately sweet taste. These non-digestible oligosaccharides are fermented in the colon, leading to the selective stimulation and promotion of healthful bifidobacteria (the prebiotic effect), helping to improve digestive health and function. As ingredients, inulin and oligofructose improve taste and mouthfeel, enable fat and sugar reduction, and impart all the benefits associated with dietary fiber, such as moderation of blood sugar levels after eating and speeding up the transit time of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Uniquely, inulin and oligofructose can also help promote long-term bone health by improving the absorption of dietary calcium. A patented form of oligofructose-enriched inulin has also been shown to increase bone mineral density and lower body mass index.

Patti: Fiberstar’s citrus pulp fiber is being used by dairy and beverage processors in a variety of ways to improve the quality, nutrition and label declaration of their products, often while reducing ingredient costs. The all-natural fiber derived from a by-product of orange juice processing is different than traditional fibers because of the unique combination of its chemical composition and physical characteristics. The citrus fiber product is composed of one-third soluble fiber and one-third insoluble fiber and also contains 8% protein. This chemical composition gives the fiber the ability to tightly bind fats and oils in addition to water. The patented mechanical process used in its manufacture opens the fiber matrix to create an amorphous molecule with high internal surface area, allowing the fiber to hold oil and water more tightly through processing, cooking, baking and storage than other ingredients. In dairy products, citrus fiber can replace higher-priced synthetic emulsifiers and stabilizers, partially replace fats and oils, and control viscosity and texture. In beverages, citrus pulp fiber can stabilize other ingredients, control viscosity and texture and impart a pulpy mouthfeel.

Peters: Biovelop’s fiber ingredient is oat beta glucan, the soluble fiber from oats. Our patented, chemical-free technology enables us to produce a natural, highly versatile, clean-label ingredient, which bestows the well-recognized health benefits of oats on a wide variety of dairy products but without the oat taste or color. Our oat beta glucan enables products to provide or contribute to consumers’ recommended daily intake of 3 grams of beta glucan, therefore allowing access to FDA and EFSA health claims for the maintenance of healthy blood cholesterol levels. Our oat beta glucan can also help to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, promote satiety and act as a prebiotic for improved gut health.

Peterson: SunOpta offers a variety of individual dietary fibers such as oat, soy, pea and barley, as well as blends of soluble and insoluble fibers. These are versatile ingredients that can enhance food and beverage products by adding both nutritional and functional benefits. Oat fiber, in particular, is an ideal choice for increasing fiber content, reducing calorie content and enhancing texture. Consumer perception of oat fiber on an ingredient statement is very positive, as both “oat” and “fiber” solicit an impression of health, nutrition and well-being. Insoluble oat, soy and pea fibers are virtually calorie free while barley soluble fiber provides 3.4 calories per gram.

Romeo: Nutraceuticals International markets one of the newest fiber food ingredients to enter the natural products scene. It comes from the fruit of the baobab tree, which grows wild in South Africa and India. Known around the world as a superfruit, the fruit contains an extraordinary blend of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and is 70% fiber. We have partnered with a direct manufacturer of a standardized baobab fruit powder extract, which is low in calories, sugar, fat and carbohydrates. It is soluble in hot and cold water and can be used as a sugar or fat substitute.

Turowski: Sensus manufactures a range of soluble fiber ingredients sourced from chicory root. Also known as inulin, chicory root fiber can deliver a variety of nutritional and functional benefits to most dairy applications. Nutritionally, there are several clinical studies that demonstrate the prebiotic properties of these ingredients, thus supporting claims related to digestive health. In addition to a caloric value of 1.5 calories per gram, there is emerging research demonstrating the ability of chicory root fiber to support weight management. Perhaps the most unique aspect of these ingredients is the wide range of functional benefits they can deliver, particularly in dairy applications. These ingredients can improve texture and replace fat. Specific products can also serve as low-calorie, all-natural sweeteners. These forms of chicory root fiber can provide as much as 65% the sweetness of sugar and perform very similar to high-fructose corn syrup in regards to functionality.

Varde: Roquette America has a line of soluble fibers derived from both corn and wheat. They are classified as resistant dextrins. They are derived from non-genetically modified corn and wheat starch, have excellent dispersability and dissolution, and have a high dietary tolerance. Nutritionally, these resistant dextrins are prebiotic fibers and they have been clinically proven to increase satiety and aid in weight management. At 85% fiber, these resistant dextrins offer a high-purity source of fiber that can be easily used to make a fiber claim.

Dairy Foods: How does a product developer formulate with your fiber ingredient(s)?

Black: Our product developers have worked with manufacturers to create high-fiber ice cream and sour cream using our soluble corn fibers. Recent fiber-rich prototypes include Greek-style yogurt, a chocolate exercise recovery drink, savory yogurt spreads and sweet fruit dips.

Cammarata: MCC has many uses in dairy-based products. For example, in dairy beverages, addition of 0.2% to 0.5% MCC contributes to mouthfeel and texture while also imparting excellent suspension of insoluble particles such as calcium or cocoa. Since it is completely heat stable, MCC functions even under ultra-high temperatures. It can also be used to impart body and mouthfeel for fat replacement in frozen desserts. Typical usage levels for a full-fat ice cream would be 0.25% to 0.35% and 0.30% to 0.45% for a low-fat or nonfat product. 

Cordts: With flavored milk drinks, our unique vegetable fiber system is stirred into milk in the cold state. After a short swelling time, the milk can be mixed with the other ingredients in the usual way, then homogenized, heated and filled. It is the high-pressure homogenization that forms the microgels. It is much the same with drinkable yogurt. You put the functional system into the milk first, homogenize the mixture under pressure and then add the cultures. Once ready, containers are filled. For a low-fat drinking yogurt, 0.1% to 0.2% of the fiber system is enough to maintain the accustomed mouthfeel. In addition, it is possible to reduce the cost of the formulation.

Driessen: Because PHGG is easily dissolved in water and has low viscosity, it has a wide range of suitable applications. Further, it has good stability at low pH (3.5) and heat during processing. With no unpleasant taste and no strange mouthfeel, it is easy to use PHGG to develop foods and beverages that deliver high levels of fiber without adversely affecting the product quality. And, possibly more important, PHGG does not cause uncomfortable bloating or gas. 

Horst: While our polydextrose has many of the properties of sugar, it has low sweetness and virtually no taste. It is used in sugar-free, reduced-sugar, low-fat and fiber-enriched dairy products such as drinking yogurt and liquid cultured milk, ice cream, growing-up milk formulas (for 1- to 4-year-olds), creams, fresh cheese  and processed cheese. It has high solubility and low viscosity, which offers the possibility of high-fiber dosages. In dairy products, it has a clean mouthfeel, increases the mouthfeel in low-sugar products and enhances creaminess. For processed cheese, specifically, polydextrose allows good structure, no gumminess and good humectant properties while still allowing the cheese slice to melt. Special grades of ultra-refined polydextrose prevent browning. Addition levels are 3% to 15%, depending on the application.

Ledbetter: Our soluble corn fiber is unique in that it is colorless, odorless and tasteless; adds minimal viscosity; contains minimal sugars and is soluble in water up to a 70% solution. It is suitable for sugar-, fat- and calorie-modified applications, as it only contains 1.6 calories per gram and contains very few simple sugars for consideration of a no-sugar-added or sugar-free claim and can be used up to 10 grams (dry basis) in any food application while providing only 0.2 grams of sugars. Besides being GRAS as maltodextrin, it can be labeled as a maltodextrin, digestion resistant maltodextrin or soluble corn fiber.

Munteanu: Our scFOS has a short-chain structure, making it a non-viscous, highly soluble ingredient. Functional benefits such as mouthfeel and flavor enhancement are also associated with scFOS. Additionally, scFOS is stable through processing and throughout the shelf life of enhanced dairy products. Inclusion levels range between 1.1 grams and 3.22 grams per serving, depending on the desired label claim. Suggested labeling declarations include fructan and fructooligosaccharides(FOS). GOS is highly soluble and shows superior stability during severe processing conditions such as low pH and high heat. GOS has a clean taste and will not have a negative impact on the sensory profile of food products. Suggested inclusion levels are 3 grams per serving and label declarations include galactan, oligosaccharides or simply GOS. Agave inulin features a branched structure that contributes to a smooth mouthfeel in low-fat dairy applications. The soluble nature of the material allows for easy incorporation, while its clean, pleasant taste helps maintain a good sensory profile. Suggested inclusion levels are at 3 grams per serving for a “good” source of fiber claim and label declarations are agave fiber, agave inulin and inulin.

Niba: Soluble corn fiber and soluble wheat fiber are multi-functional and can be used in a range of dairy-based applications. They are stable to processing and storage conditions such as low pH, high acid, pasteurization and freezing.

Nieto: Intermediate moisture and semi-dry products such as grain-based foods can be easily fortified with fiber. However, beverages and liquid products, especially milk-containing ones, are not as easy due to viscosity issues, as well as possible incompatibility with milk proteins. Many gums can destabilize the structure of milk protein and only a few of these gum fibers will work in dairy systems. In non-acidified dairy systems such as milk and frozen desserts, the best fiber system is one that contains inulin as the main fiber source, as inulin will not impart viscosity. Carrageenan complements inulin and functions as a  stabilizer.

O’Neill: Inulin stabilizes water into a creamy structure with the same mouthfeel as fat, enabling the reduction of fat while maintaining a creamy texture, roundness and a better balanced flavor. It stabilizes emulsions and dispersions, and improves the stability of aerated dairy desserts such as chocolate, yogurt and fruit mousses. Usage levels of 3% to 5% will typically impart a fat mimetic effect. Oligofructose is a natural sugar replacer and is suitable for diabetics. It can help eliminate the artificial aftertaste of high-intensity sweeteners. Certain fruit flavors are also more pronounced when used in combination with oligofructose.

Patti: When used in dairy products and beverages, our unique functional fiber is labeled as citrus fiber or citrus flour. When used for emulsification, thickening or as a stabilizer, it is generally added at 0.25% to 1.5% of formula weight. In reduced-fat formulations, one part of the citrus pulp fiber is added with six to 12 parts extra formula water to replace up to 50% of formula oil or milkfat. Because citrus fiber and water cost less than the oil or milkfat they replace, manufacturers save on ingredients.

Peters: Our oat beta glucan soluble fiber has been used to create prototypes of fermented low-pH milk drinks, buttermilk, low-fat cream cheeses and crème fraiche-type products. In dairy products, it can be used as a fat replacer, emulsifier, stabilizer and viscosity modifier. With usage levels of just 1% to 3%, oat beta glucan provides dairy products with an indulgent, creamy mouthfeel, previously only found in full-fat products. 

Peterson: The addition of 1.0% to 1.5% barley soluble fiber concentrate to a low-fat yogurt or beverage will deliver the 0.75 grams of beta glucan required for the heart-health claim, as well as provide an indulgent mouthfeel, mimicking a full-fat system and reducing the reliance on other texture enhancers. It is important to remember that insoluble fibers can also play a role in fortification of dairy products such as beverages, smoothies and yogurts, as insoluble fibers can provide a reduction in formula cost compared to soluble fibers. A “good” source of fiber claim is achievable in a beverage, for example, with approximately 1% oat fiber. For fiber levels beyond that level, SunOpta offers a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers that was specifically designed for dairy applications.   

Turowski: We created a low-fat chocolate milk that contains 3 grams of fiber per 8-ounce serving (as compared to no fiber in traditional chocolate milk). Using our inulin, calories are also reduced by 11% (from 180 to 160) and total sugars by 22% (from 27 grams to 21 grams).    

Varde: A major interest from our dairy customers is the ability of our resistant dextrins to withstand pasteurization, sterilization, fermentation and thermal processing. In yogurt smoothies or kefir products, resistant dextrins are used both nutritionally and functionally. Because of their organoleptic properties, resistant dextrins have been shown to add some mouthfeel to dairy beverages, as well as diminish some off-notes, for example, those that consumers may perceive from high-intensity sweeteners.  

Want to read more about fiber? Suppliers provide commentary on the future of fortifying dairy foods with fiber food ingredients. Visit www.dairyfoods.com.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Dairy Foods: What is the future for fiber as a food ingredient?

Nieto: Educating consumers to the health benefits of fiber addition is critical to the future of fortification. There are additional costs that the manufacturer incurs when certain fibers become part of the formula. The benefit needs to be conveyed to the consumer. Many companies have already succeeded in adding fibers such as inulin to cultured dairy products. The way they overcome the cost of including novel fibers is by reducing the serving size of the cup, as well as conveying inclusion to the consumer.

Niba: Market awareness and interest in fiber ingredients is on the upswing. Since dairy has traditionally been a category that consumers associate with health and wellness, there is the potential for added fiber to continue to make inroads with consumers and with the market. The overwhelming success of prebiotics in dairy products, for instance, provides an excellent opportunity for prebiotic fibers. As ingredient technology continues to evolve, novel fibers with functionality for everyday dairy products will no doubt lead this vibrant market.

Varde: The importance of fiber as an ingredient will continue to rise. Part of this is due to the realization on the part of consumers that there is a fiber deficit and that they need to enrich their diets with more fiber. Another part is that as more research is conducted into specific fibers, we will start to see nutritional benefits beyond the traditional scope of just fiber. In dairy, I see the combination of probiotics and prebiotic fiber being offered to consumers to address digestive health and well-being.

Munteanu:  Today’s fiber ingredients are known to deliver a wide range of health benefits in addition to the traditional fiber effect. Dairy products are a natural vehicle for supporting immune and digestive health by delivering prebiotic fibers as well as probiotic cultures. Furthermore, bone health can be enhanced by the addition of fiber shown to increase the absorption of calcium, a nutrient naturally present in dairy products.

Peters: Increasing the fiber content of our diets is one way to overcome the ever-increasing problems of cardiovascular disease and obesity. However, even when consumers are aware of the health benefits of fiber, they often struggle to include enough of it in their diet. Innovative fiber ingredients provide an opportunity for the dairy industry to play a key role in helping consumers boost their fiber intake without having to alter their dietary habits.

Patti: Fiber is a well-known dietary additive and while this is an important and growing use, some fibers can be effective functional ingredients and wholesome alternatives to a variety of chemical, synthetic or more expensive ingredients currently used in dairy products. The value of fiber in food greatly exceeds its use as a supplement or filler/bulking agent.

Peterson: Fiber will continue to be a topic of focus for health experts and consumers in the foreseeable future. We will see more diverse product introductions with fiber and the development of new fibers from novel sources to further expand the options available to formulators. With a trend towards increased adoption of ethnic and global foods, beverages with more texture or mouthfeel and better nutrient profiles will be in demand.

O’Neill: There is tremendous future potential for next-generation fiber ingredients in numerous product segments, especially in dairy products. In fact, the true possibilities have only begun to be explored. Consumers want smarter, healthier alternatives that taste as good as the originals.

Turowski: Consumers have become more concerned with issues such as obesity and diabetes, leading to an increased awareness of the role dietary fiber plays in a healthy diet. This is a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years. It seems possible that fiber addition may be headed in a similar direction as vitamin and mineral fortification. That is, consumers will no longer see added fiber as a point of differentiation in the market, but will come to expect it in the products they purchase, a trend that has begun in the cereal segment. Yogurt is probably the best fit within the dairy category when it comes to highlighting the nutritional aspects of fiber, particularly as it relates to digestive health.

Chaudhari: As more consumers understand and embrace the concept of the role that digestive health plays in overall health and wellness, the market for fiber-enhanced dairy products will continue to grow.