An Australian range of muesli and snack bars called Barley+ made with a fiber-rich, non-GMO barley variety is set to appear in Kroger stores starting this month, according to a company release.
The cereal products contain BARLEYmax, an Australian-grown whole grain with twice the fiber and four times the resistant starch of regular barley. Each serving of Barley+ Toasted Muesli provides nearly two ounces — or two servings — of whole grains, which is nearly two-thirds of the recommended daily intake.
Made by Australian natural foods company Freedom Foods Group, the muesli range comes in three varieties: Cranberry and Nuts, Pink Lady and Macadamia, and Maple and Nut. After its initial launch at Kroger stores, it will be available in other U.S. and Australian supermarkets.
BARLEYmax was developed in the 1990s by the CSIRO, a prestigious Australian research institution. The non-GMO barley cultivar was identified for its high levels of dietary fiber — including soluble fiber in the form of beta-glucan, insoluble fiber and resistant starch-like fiber, which has a prebiotic effect thought to improve gut health.
Fiber in general is lacking in the average American diet, with all age groups struggling to consume even one portion of the recommended three to six servings of whole grains per day. Meanwhile, consumer interest in gut health is on the rise. The main focus continues to be on probiotics, but prebiotics — the food for beneficial bacteria — are gaining attention. Demand for prebiotic-containing products could drive the market to reach $7.8 billion by 2022, according to a Global Industry Analysts’ report.
Currently, the BARLEYmax grain is only supplied commercially through an Australian company, Blue Lake Milling, but it has been successfully trialed in several other countries, including the United States. Apart from the Barley+ range, the grain is also used in several other Australian companies’ products, including breads, wraps, cereals and snack bars.