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Industry is only at the ‘tip of the iceberg’ with fiber enrichment, report

By Kacey Culliney , 03-Dec-2012

Bakery and snack manufacturers are only at the ‘tip of the fiber-enriched product iceberg’ and novel ingredients present opportunities to drive the sector further, according to a new report.

The Packaged Facts report Fiber Food Ingredients in the US: Soluble, Insoluble, and Digestive-Resistant Types, 2nd Edition suggests that the fiber enrichment market has room to grow.

The global whole grain and high fiber food market has been growing over the past several years and is set to hit $27.6bn by 2017, according to the latest Global Industry Analysts (GIA) research.

However, the Packaged Facts report noted that the market remains in its infancy. “There is a great deal of room for growth across almost all food categories, which presents an opportunity for the many different fiber food ingredients currently available to formulators.”

“Typically, traditional grain-based products provide the best arena for fiber fortification. Thus the bread, bakery and snack segments lead the presence and introduction of fiber-enhanced foods,” it said. Dairy, flavored waters, pasta and rice categories are also popular, it added.

‘Novel’ hopes but whole grains remain ahead

David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, said that fiber food ingredients classified as novel have underpinned strong growth in the sector and hold promise for future development by manufacturers.

Novel fiber food ingredients showed the greatest CAGR – 64.9%, driven by soluble corn fiber/resistant corn dextrin at a CAGR of 93%. Polydextrose was no longer the ‘star’ fiber ingredient, the report found.

“This is because even though polydextrose is a multi-functional, versatile and inexpensive fiber food ingredient, it is also considered synthetic. And, for many formulators focusing on clean labels, polydextrose is not an option. In fact, polydextrose is on Whole Foods Market’s ‘unacceptable ingredients for food’ list,” it said.

Both chicory root/inulin with a CAGR of 71.9% and fructooligosachharide with a CAGR of 55.9% continue to drive innovation in the fiber-enriched food marketplace, it added.

The report said that another “emerging leader” was resistant maltodextrin (CAGR 83.9%).

However, Sprinkle noted that few ingredients can compete with the widespread appeal and government support of grain-based products, particularly those containing whole grains.

“The strongest trend is with boosting the fiber content of grain-based foods, in particular those marketed as ‘made with whole grains’,” he said.

Government pushes and recommendations

The report suggested that this growing emphasis on whole grains and other fibers can be traced back to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, that included key recommendations strongly centered on consuming dietary fiber.

It also noted that US legislation stipulating that bakery items served in public schools contain no less than 51% whole grain effective July 1, 2014. Already, since the beginning of July 2012, laws suggest that at least half of grains offered to students during the lunch week must be whole grain-rich.

“The impact on product development and reformulation efforts by food manufacturers – and in turn on the fiber food ingredient business itself – has been tremendous,” the report said.

Packaged Facts cited Cargill as one of several companies seeking to innovate in the fiber food ingredients market and one that has done so successfully with the launch of its blueberry snack bars and prezels containing Oliggo-Fiber inulin (a line or natural soluble fiber ingredients). The products, launched in June, were positioned as nutritious, good tasting, kid-friendly snacks high in fiber and low in fat.

Targeting opportunities

Data from the report suggests that the best consumers to target with fiber-enriched foods are college-educated women more than 45-years-old.

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