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We have now entered the post-pandemic era, with lockdowns lifting and most returning to their daily routines. However, what does not appear to be returning to normal is consumer health awareness, which has increased during Covid-19 and is expected to continue to do so.
According to a consumer survey commissioned by Beneo, two-thirds (64%) of consumers are now more interested in ingredients – or foods and beverages – that offer protective or preventative health benefits. With one in two consumers in With the world claiming to be aware of bacteria existing in the digestive system and that they can be beneficial to health, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking for foods and beverages that can improve their digestive health.
This paved the way for fibre’s growing popularity as an ingredient in foods and beverages. However, the health benefits of the fibre depend on the type of fibre used, as not all have the same technical or nutritional properties. With so many consumers seeking to improve their long-term health, the challenge for food manufacturers is now to incorporate fibre into their products with scientifically proven benefits, without compromising on taste.
Promote the growth of good bacteria with chicory root fibres
Dietary fibres differ in their function in the large intestine. When fibre fermentation allows beneficial bacteria to selectively proliferate, resulting in health benefits, they are classified as prebiotics. This ability has only been scientifically and clinically proven for very little dietary fibre. Beneo’s Chicory Root Fiber, Orafti Inulin and Oligofructose belong to this exclusive group of prebiotic fibres and meet the ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics) definition of prebiotics. A recently published systematic literature review with meta-analysis even investigated the effects of inulin-type fructans derived from chicory root, based on 50 human intervention studies. Results showed that chicory root fibre intake (from 3 g/day) promoted a significant growth of beneficial bifidobacteria in the gut microbiome in all age groups and improved intestinal function parameters.
Other chicory root fibre benefits include blood sugar control, immune system health, weight management, and calcium absorption for bone health.
Get fibre-rich products without the cardboard taste
Given the myriad health benefits prebiotic fibre provides, it’s no surprise that the future for fibre-enriched products is bright. In the Asia-Pacific region, the size of the prebiotics market is projected to reach $4.9 billion by 2028, with two out of three consumers (68%) declaring an (extreme) interest in prebiotics. The main challenge for food manufacturers is to do away with the gritty, bland “cardboard” taste often associated with fibre-fortified food products to provide more appealing choices to the masses.
The company’s Orafti inulin and oligofructose are proving popular with manufacturers because they are soluble dietary fibres that can be easily added to prescription formulations without major changes to the manufacturing process. They also have a mild taste and don’t add an unwanted aftertaste to the final product.
In addition to increasing the fibre content, chicory root fibre also allows food manufacturers to reduce fat or sugar in food formulations, improving the nutritional profile. For example, Orafti Inulin and Oligofructose can reduce the sugar content in biscuits while maintaining the desired taste and texture of the product. Additionally, the long-chain molecular structure of Orafti Inulin provides fat-like texturizing properties and can be used to replace some of the fat content in dairy products such as yoghurt or ice cream. At the same time, it ensures a creamy mouthfeel.
With the help of the company’s prebiotic chicory root fibres and their technical properties, manufacturers can provide consumers with both healthy and tasty fibre options, meeting the growing market demand.