The move comes at the same time the maker of Z-Trim said that it has signed an agreement with food manufacturer Nestlé to supply the leading Swiss food group with its fat substitute on a long term basis.
With two in three Americans believing there is a need for fat replacers and one hundred thirty million Americans currently consuming reduced- or low-fat foods, according to a Calorie Control Council survey, Fiber Gel Technologies will be keen to see the same trend repeated in Europe.
Market analysts Mintel claim that since 2001, reduced calorie foods (RFRC) have performed strongly in Europe with new product design enabling the consumer 'to satisfy their craving for authenticity, ethnicity and food 'on the go'.'
Developed in 1998 by researchers at the US Department of Agriculture, Z-Trim is a carbohydrate-based calorie free fat substitute made from the insoluble fibre of oats, soybeans, peas, rice hulls, corn or wheat bran. Applications include cheese, baked goods, processed meats, dressings and confectionery.
Now in the hands of the venture firm Circle Group that acquired FiberGel Technologies in 2002, the ingredient has been 'well received by a number of major domestic and foreign food manufacturers as a vital mainstream ingredient for making healthier foods', said the company this week.
Attempting to make inroads into Europe the company wil be up against a raft of alternative carbohydrate-based fat replacers - inulin, maltodextrins, fibre, polyols, modified food starch - already on the market, as well as fat-based fat replacers, such as Danisco's salatrim product Benefat and emulsifiers. But they all face the same challenge, providing food designers with a credible taste and texture alternative for fat.