Inulin range offers obesity solutions
to boost fibre and reduce sugar in food and beverage products.
The Belgian supplier has three inulin versions in its Fibruline range but said a line extension was warranted to meet changing food industry requirements in the wake of obesity concerns. One of the ingredients, Fibruline S20, offers 20 per cent water solubility and low viscosity and is being sold as an "invisible fibre" that can be used in beverages, bars and baked products such as white bread. "S20 offers the same unique nutritional and health advantages as regular inulin, but with an improved solubility and low viscosity," Cosucra said. Cosucra's marketing manager, Carmen Melnero Fernandez, said S20 complements the company's existing three-ingredient inulin range, which includes a 35 per cent water soluble material that was priced at around €2.50-€3 per kilogram. S20 would cost substantially less and would target the US and Asia as well as European markets, she said. The other, Fibruline DS2, is a de-sugared inulin the company is marketing as a low-calorie sweetener with a particular focus on the bakery and confectionery industries. "These sectors are suffering from a negative image as they are linked to general concerns such as obesity and diabetes," the company said. "Governments put a tremendous pressure on food manufacturers to reduce empty calories and sugars in order to provide the consumer with healthy options." DS2 contains one calorie per gram as opposed to four calories for regular sugar. The bigger picture Melnero Fernandez said the range expansion came at a time when industries such as bakery and confectionery were suffering from image problems and were responding by improving the healthfulness of their products. "Everybody is so concerned about obesity and overweight right now and so these kinds of ingredients are more in demand," she said. "Take France. The government there has asked certain food manufacturing groups to reduce sugar levels by 25 per cent. The need for these kinds of ingredients is very real right now." Although there is no official Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for inulin and oligofructose, it is thought between five and eight grams per day can be beneficial. The company had submitted four health claims in the areas of calorie reduction, fibre enrichment, gut health and calcium absorption to the European Commission for approval under the Nutrition and Health Claims legislation. A recent study from the University of Reading suggested both high and low intakes of inulin and oligofructose (five and eight grams per day, respectively) could boost the population of 'friendly' bifidobacteria in the gut without side effects. Frost & Sullivan predicts the European market for prebiotic ingredients such as inulin will double from €90 million to €179.7 million by 2010. Cosucra also trades in pea proteins.