Oatvita makes big satiety and prebiotic claims, but can it back them?

By Michael HURLEY

- Last updated on GMT

Oatvita's prebiotic and satiety claims are big, but can it back them?

Related tags Nutrition Dietary fiber

Claimed health benefits that include increased satiety and balancing of intestinal flora are only partly supported by European Commission regulations, suppliers of the oat-based ingredient say.

Oatvita owner 5ensesinfood is making a variety of claims although not all appear in the EU-approved register​,​ including gut microflora and satiety claims.

An article 13.1 general function health claim around cholesterol management is approved​ under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

Oatvita has low calorie content, is suitable for people with lactose or gluten intolerance, and aside from its healthful properties is intended to be added to food to change its flavour and texture, the ingredient’s producer 5ensesinfood said.

Oatvita’s potential applications include beverages, yoghurts, desserts, sauces and spices. The product is in the testing phase for application in beverages and yoghurts, with further tests anticipated for its use in desserts.

Satisfying EU regulations

CEO Jose Sousa spoke to us about the claims environment Oatvita is entering in the EU.

The EU-approved claim states foods  providing at least 1 g of oat beta glucan per quantified portion, and recommending daily consumption of 3 g, can bear a cholesterol management claim.

Oatvita contains about 0.7 g of beta glucan per 100g, meaning that to market the product as capable of reducing cholesterol its end-producer would be required to include enough of the oat base in its final product to tip oat beta glucan levels over 1 g.

Satiety claims on the other hand are not approved for oat beta-glucans at EU level.

We refer to ‘increased satiety’ not as a health claim but as a benefit supported by several studies​,” Sousa said.

Studies published in Appetite ​and Food Hydrocolloids ​journals were cited as examples of evidence used to support the claim of increased satiety in promotional material sent to NutraIngredientsalthough the company said additional studies are needed.

5ensesinfood’s Oatvita marketing materials said: “There is evidence to suggest consuming some fibres may help promote satiety. Oat beta-glucan in Oatvita is a viscous soluble fibre that swells and hydrates in the stomach and the beta glucan is not digested.​”

As a soluble dietary fibre, [oat beta-glucan] may contribute to a feeling of fullness after meals. Because the calorie contribution of Oatvita is significantly lower than that of fat, it can be incorporated into lower calorie food formulations to help support weight management strategies​.

Oat grain fibre link to prebiotic function

5ensesinfood also said Oatvita could fulfil a prebiotic function in that it balanced intestinal flora.

We refer the claim of the equilibrium of intestinal flora resulting from the oat grain fibre which contributes to an increase in faecal bulk​,” Sousa said.

A claim linking oat grain fibre and an increase in faecal bulk is authorised in the EU where the food is “high fibre”.

Oatvita qualifies as high fibre as a result of its 4.67 g of fibre per 100kcal, above the regulation’s stipulated 3 g.

Oatvita comes in various concentrations for varying applications and thus at varying prices.

Setting out the stall

Marketing of the nutrient is underway in Portugal and Spain, including multinational food production companies with a Q1 2016 on-shelf target.

The Portuguese Association of Nutritionists awarded the product 1st​ Honorable Mention in the Nutrition Awards 2010’s ‘innovation’ category.

Related topics Ingredients

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