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Oat cookies with datesOat cookies with dates

Dietary fibre is associated with positive health benefits, the most recognised being maintaining digestive health and lowering the risks of several non-communicable diseases.  

Professionals from across the food, nutrition, and health space have urged consumers to include more fibre in their diet for years. Despite the mounting evidence of the importance of fibre, in particular, the fibre gap persists. The World Health Organisation documents this and is highly concerning to health experts in clinical practice, public health, and academic realms.  

Most consumers fail to meet this dietary requirement, and food manufacturers are being called upon to bring foods with added fibre to the market, providing a convenient and easier way to increase fibre intake. 

The growing demand and awareness of fibre importance is prompting innovation across all categories. Fibre fortification claims in food and beverage launches are increasing globally, featuring 4% annual growth when comparing 2017/Q4-2018Q3 and 2021 Q4- 2022 Q3 launches (CAGR), according to Innova Market Insights.  

Foodology by Univar Solutions is exploring a few trends propelling the interest in foods enriched with fibre and the ingredients to aid product formulators in successfully addressing the fibre gap. 

Fibre crackersFibre crackers

What are fibre-enriched foods? 

Fibre enrichment involves adding extra fibres to food products to boost nutrition. It is often a part of recipe reformulation aimed reducing sugar and calories whic also aids in achieving dietary goals. The European Food Safety Agency recommends an intake of 25-30g of fiber per day, but most consume less, creating a fiber gap. Enrichment of products such as snacks, dairy and ready meals helps bridge this gap and increase fibre consumption.

Food ingredients for fibre enrichment:

Pulse flours

In the current cost-of-living crisis, satiety benefits can bring extra value to the snacking occasion. For instance, value-focused snacking brands targeting children and their parents can embrace satiety as an innovation platform. Satiety is a multifaceted concept, so various approaches can be adopted to enhance the feeling of fullness. One particular opportunity highlights high-fibre credentials.  

Pulse flour offers unique solutions for food products. It is a specialized flour derived from pulses, which are nutrient-rich legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and peas. These flours enhance the nutritional profile of foods and provide functional benefits during the formulation process while promoting the feeling of fullness.

This fibre enrichment solution opens the possibility of creating more nutritionally dense food products by incorporating the goodness of pulses.  

A selection of various pulsesA selection of various pulses
Orange beverages in glasses with iceOrange beverages in glasses with ice

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)

As part of the "Total Wellbeing" trend, consumers increasingly treat their bodies like an ecosystem and search for more holistic approaches to health and wellbeing. This has seen awareness of the gut and the microbiome gain traction, with nearly seven in 10 (68%) UK consumers calling the gut an essential component of overall health (Mintel, 2023). 

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are soluble fibres that are fermented by Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These beneficial bacteria increase while they ferment the fibres and they produce short-chain fatty acids, which are associated with health benefits. This is why it is also called a pre-biotic fibre. FOS is the leading dietary fibre in food and drink globally and is mostly applied in snacks, bakeries, baby food, nutritional drinks, and dairy.

Soluble fibres

Manufacturers can use various types of fibre to help achieve sugar reduction whilst helping to maintain the flavour and texture of products. Fibres like ScFOS (short chain fructooligosaccharide) are derived from beet sugar and offer a milk-sweet taste, good solubility, and natural credentials that can contribute to improved taste and texture and bulking possibilities in applications such as bakery, dairy, and cereals.

Actilight® by Tereos is a concentrate of soluble fibres produced from sugar beets due to a bioconversion process inspired by nature. Just one teaspoon of Actilight® is equivalent to the fibre obtained from 10 bananas.  

Oats and yoghurtOats and yoghurt
Three different fruit juicesThree different fruit juices

Galactooligosaccarides (GOS) 

GOS can be applied in functional foods, dairy products, and milk powders. BIOLIGO® GL 5700 IMF GOS from Ingredion is a high-quality GOS that meets strict ingredient sourcing requirements for infant formulas and growing-up milk. With 20 years of infant nutrition expertise, this soluble dietary fibre is derived from lactose in syrup form and contains 57% GOS (dry basis).  

It offers an easy substitution for other GOS ingredients, matching their sugar profile already available in the market. By incorporating BIOLIGO® GL 5700 IMF GOS into your products, you can bring them closer to the gold standard of mother's milk, supporting infant health effectively. 

Inulin  

Another excellent source of dietary fibre is inulin which occurs naturally. It is perfect for adding bulk and fibre to food applications without contributing to significant caloric content. It also has prebiotic properties, which aid in maintaining a healthy gut and improved digestion. Inulin's ability to retain water and its solubility can also enhance the texture and mouthfeel of products, allowing manufacturers to reduce fat and sugar in their recipes.  

Inulin from our supplier partner IMAG is extracted from agave and available in conventional and organic versions. The solution also fits perfectly within ongoing trends such as clean label, sustainable, and 'better for you' formulations. Popular applications include non-dairy ice cream and milk and low-alcohol beverages.  

Enzymatic solutions for fibre enrichment in dairy 

At Foodology by Univar Solutions, we have identified that formulating for fibre enrichment is challenging depending on our consumers' type of food and dietary requirements.

With Saphera® Fiber from supplier partner Novozymes, you can enhance the nutritional composition of dairy products by reducing sugars without compromising sweetness. Additionally, it boosts dietary fibre content and enables the possibility of making low-lactose claims. 

Maintaining consumer expectations by ensuring a familiar and pleasing taste, mouthfeel, appearance, and texture is critical for a product's success. Through our vast portfolio of soluble and insoluble fibres, you should be able to discover the best fibre-enriching ingredients to suit your recipe needs.  

Pouring fresh milk into a glassPouring fresh milk into a glass
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