Fiber looks to act its age by showing it's not just for the elderly
- Added fiber is no longer relegated to an older consumer looking for regularity, according to a recent article in Food Ingredients First. Younger consumers also are purchasing products with the ingredient because of the health benefits associated with a high-fiber diet.
- Ingredion, an ingredients solutions provider, has gone one step further by finding new fiber ingredients derived from potato and corn. The company says these two fibers can help manufacturers deliver claims such as “excellent source of fiber,” and “gluten free.”
- “We continue to experience an increased demand for fiber fortification and calorie and carbohydrate reduction in the retail and foodservice space,” Igor Playner, Ingredion’s vice president of innovation and strategy for North America, said in a statement.
Dietary fiber has undergone something of a makeover in recent years. Once thought of as an ingredient only attractive to older consumer looking to stay regular, it has now broadened its customer base to include younger consumers looking to embrace a high-fiber diet.
Studies have found eating a high-fiber diet can balance blood sugar levels, aid in digestion, lower cholesterol and possibly reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Nutritionists recommend a person get their daily recommended amount of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Still, this hasn't deterred food manufacturers from adding fiber to everything from Activia yogurt to Fiber One ice cream.
Fiber One, owned by General Mills, likely comes to mind first when thinking of high fiber. The brand also offers items such as bars and cookies, all with added fiber. Breakfast cereals are another popular product to add fiber to. This can range from the extremely health end, like All Bran, to sugary ones, such as Apple Jacks.
Label claims touting a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ source of fiber have increased in recent years. Breakfast cereals trying to combat bad press about sugar turned to added fiber as a way to bolster their nutritional value and woo back wary consumers.
There are a couple of possible reasons behind this increased interest in fiber.
As consumers trend toward simpler and better-for-you ingredients, many also are looking to increase the number of fruits and vegetables they consume. Whole foods naturally contain more fiber, so if a product has more whole food ingredients, it follows that it would have more fiber.
In addition, there are the myriad health benefits associated with a high-fiber diet. In a time where consumers are looking to cut back on salt, sugar, and fat, it could be a nice change to be told they need to add something to their diet.
Finally, after the Atkins low-carb, high-protein diet surged in the 1990’s, consumers may have noticed how a lack of fiber affected their bodies. Finding a low-carb, high-fiber food to offset all of those steaks and string cheeses could have contributed to increased demand.
- Food Ingredients First Looking beyond traditional fiber