Editor’s Note: Many nutrition authorities believe adding fiber ingredients to commonly consumed foods will help Americans bridge the fiber gap without adding significant calories to the diet. While increasing fiber content in foods and beverages can be difficult, today’s range of high-fiber ingredients simplifies the task. Nancy Gaul, senior category manager - Health and Wellness, Global Marketing, Tate & Lyle, delves into the how fiber is the unsung hero in the food marketing toolkit.
Thirteen slices of whole wheat bread, 10 cups of broccoli or 6 medium apples.1 This is what it would take for a consumer to reach their suggested daily fiber intake of 25 grams as outlined by the World Health Organization.2 Although consumers aren’t coming close to those suggestions now, they’re trying. In fact, the 2015 IFIC Food and Health Survey found that 55 percent of U.S. consumers are looking to add more fiber to their diet.3
Decades of research have shown that diets higher in fiber are associated with a reduced risk for heart disease and diabetes4, 5 as well as gut health and healthy digestion.5 Instead of leaving it up to consumers to rely solely on whole-grain bread, broccoli or apples, manufacturers have the opportunity to help consumers achieve these nutritional benefits with fiber-enriched food and beverage products.
In addition to their inherent health benefits, fibers provide the functionality to help meet demand for many other trending health-and-wellness claims. For example, some fibers can help rebalance bulk and mouthfeel in reduced-sugar products. This unique mix of inherent benefits and functionality make fibers key utility players for marketing “better-for-you" products.
Sugar and Calorie Reduction
According to a 2015 IFIC study, 55 percent of consumers are looking for sugar reduction.3 This trend leads many manufacturers to turn toward high-potency sweeteners. When replacing sugars with high-potency sweeteners, fibers can help maintain the sensory experience of a full-sugar product. Fibers including soluble corn fiber and polydextrose help rebalance bulk and mouthfeel in these formulations. Polydextrose is especially ideal for low-calorie and sugar-free formulations because it provides only 1kcal/gram.
Similar to reduced-sugar products, soluble corn fiber and polydextrose also can help reduce fat by rebalancing bulk and mouthfeel. Oat beta glucan is another fiber option that helps achieve a satisfying reduced-fat product. Its strong water binding and emulsifying properties thickens and stabilizes emulsions, which mimics the creamy mouthfeel and smooth texture associated with full-fat products.
Maintaining Healthy Blood Cholesterol
Several clinical studies have demonstrated that increasing intake of viscous soluble fibers like beta-glucan also can help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol6, 7, 8 when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet. Overall, the data suggests that 3 g/day of beta-glucan can lower LDL cholesterol by 3 to 5 percent and total cholesterol by 2 to 4 percent. 6, 7, and 8 Several countries allow health benefit claims or functional claims for beta glucan and cholesterol reduction.9
From “excellent source of fiber" to “less sugar" to “low fat" to “helps maintain healthy cholesterol," certain fibers give marketers the opportunity to add extra appeal to their package labels. By partnering with a supplier that has a full portfolio of fiber ingredients, food and beverage manufacturers are able to determine the option that will achieve the claims best suited for their target audience.
Nancy Gaul is the Senior Category Manager focused on Health and Wellness on Tate & Lyle’s Global Marketing team. She has more than 20 years’ experience in food and beverage marketing experience. She’s been responsible for strengthening countless regional and global brands that can be found on many tables across the globe. To learn more about Tate & Lyle’s fiber portfolio visit www.tateandlylefibres.com.
1 United States Department of Agriculture www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata; USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Other Databases and Reports Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database Nutritive Value of Foods.
2The Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: process, product and policy implications, http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/public_health_nut9.pdf (accessed April 1, 2015).
3 2015 IFIC Food and Health Survey
4 US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th Edition. Washington, DC, US Government Printing Office; 2010.
5 Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2002/2005.
6 Ripsin CM, Keenan JM, Jacobs DR, Jr., Elmer PJ, Welch RR, Van Horn L, et al. Oat products and lipid lowering. A meta-analysis. J Am Med Assoc. 1992;267(24):3317-25.
7 Brown L, Rosner B, Willett WW, Sacks FM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: A meta-analysis. American J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(1):30-42
8 Whitehead A. Meta-analysis to quantify the effects of oat beta-glucan on cholesterol. MPS Research Unit, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Lancaster University, UK. Unpublished. Reported by: EFSA Journal. 2010;8(12):1885.
9 EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to beta-glucans from oats and barley and maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations (ID 1236, 1299), increase in satiety leading to a reduction in energy intake (ID 851, 852), reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses (ID 821, 824), and “digestive function" (ID 850) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal. 2011;9(6):2207