Sugar out, fibre in: Beneo’s sugar reducer meets high consumer demand for ‘healthy indulgent’ bakery treats

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Beneo's new scFOS variant gives bakery manufacturers more variety and increased potential to offer products with less sugar to meet the high demand. Pic: GettyImages
Beneo's new scFOS variant gives bakery manufacturers more variety and increased potential to offer products with less sugar to meet the high demand. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Beneo FMCG Gurus consumer behavior low in sugar Dietary fibre oligosaccharides Obesity Bakery

The functional ingredients specialist has expanded its sugar reduction portfolio with a short-chain fructooligosaccharide (scFOS) that replaces sugar while adding dietary fibre, enabling producers to capitalise on the growing better-for-you demand.

scFOS is a fibre derived from beet sugar that offers a mild sweet taste, good solubility and natural credentials that can contribute to improved taste and texture, as well as possibilities for bulking in applications like bakery, cereals and dairy.

The new variant - Beneo-scL85 - offers customers greater versatility for sugar replacement and enrichment with dietary fibre, which is absolutely on point with today’s consumer demands, according to FMCG Gurus.

While sugar reduction has grown to become an important area of focus for consumers with new figures show that 57% of global consumers seek out ‘low in sugar’ claims, the market researcher says 49% also veer towards fibre-rich products.

Free from ingredients lists

“It is evident that consumers have adopted a more proactive approach to their health and wellness in recent years, and are choosing products that have active ingredients, as well as health benefit claims,”​ said Kate Kehoe, marketing executive at FMCG Gurus.

She added consumers are more aware of the role their gut plays on their overall health, so the brands that can promote their link to digestive health will be of high appeal.

“Bakery products are popular among consumers for snacking, with 63% of global consumers turning to biscuits and cookies as their preferred type of snack. This is due to biscuits and cookies often being associated with more real, authentic and nutritional ingredients, which in some cases can contribute to an overall healthy diet,”​ said Kehoe.

With 65% of global consumers checking the nutritional label at least some of the time when choosing a purchase, forward-thinking bakers must streamline their ingredient lists to infer products are natural, nutritious and ‘free from’.

Clean label Nutrition facts cheyncheyn
Pic: GettyImages

“By paying closer attention to the ingredients lists of products, consumers are seeking out reassurance that the products they are consuming are packed with natural and authentic ingredients,”​ said Kehoe, noting FMCG Gurus consumer insights illustrates the most appealing free from claims are Non-GMO (67%) and Natural (66%).

“This highlights that consumers are swaying away from certain artificial ingredients, chemicals and sugar content in products, and instead want products and specific ingredients associated with naturalness and nutritional value.”

Better nutrition score

Eat less sugar GettyImages
Pic: GettyImages

This is where Beneo’s scFOS come to the fore.

Using scFOS means replacing sugar while adding dietary fibre. This, in turn, improves the nutritional profile of a product, allowing manufacturers to achieve a better score for front-of-pack nutrition labelling systems worldwide, such as the NutriScore in Europe.

Short-chain fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are prebiotics, which escape digestion in the small intestine and are fermented by the colonic microflora into short-chain fatty acids. As they are nondigestible, they don’t have an effect on blood sugar levels.

In view of the obesity crisis, functional fibre has proven to be an essential dietary intervention. Fibre increases satiety, which in turn, is linked to colonic fermentation. scFOS are fermentable fibres that can be added to foods to influence these actions.

Through the addition of scFOS to its portfolio, Beneo has opened the door for more customers to serve this trend through new product development or reformulation.

“Short-chain fructooligosaccharide from beet sugar is a valuable addition to Beneo’s  portfolio because it increases flexibility and availability for our customers,”​ said Eric Neven commercial managing director for Beneo’s Functional Fibres.

“In combination with the increased production capacity of our chicory root fibre production plant in Chile, Beneo’s short-chain fructoligosaccharide will further secure supply to meet the high demand for solutions to reduce sugar.”

Beneo has six state-of-the-art production sites - in Belgium, Chile, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The new ingredient is produced in Germany in a dedicated production facility and is available as a syrup for Beneo customers around the globe.

Through a unique chain of expertise, Beno also offers customers advice and inspiration on new product ideas that support a healthy lifestyle. This includes the Beneo-Institute that provides decisive insights into nutrition science and legislation, and the Beneo-Technology Center, which consults in application technology.

What consumers want in 2023

Young girl smiling with a biscuit Cargill
Pic: GettyImages

Beyond healthy indulgence and offering purity, FMCG Gurus’ insight shows equal demand for sustainability.

“Consumer concern around the environment has continued to grow over the years,”​ said Kehoe, adding the majority believe brands are not doing enough to protect the planet.

“This demonstrates that bakery brands must place sustainability at the core of their business and employ sustainable strategies to restore consumer trust.

“In doing so, brands must be transparent and proactive in tackling environmental issues in their industry by communicating their sustainable initiatives to consumers. Some examples of these initiatives can include smarter production techniques, as well as addressing the issues of climate change and waste management.”

FMCG Gurus research reveals 61% of global consumers find upcycled ingredients appealing.

“While food waste has become a major concern amongst consumers, bakery brands should aim to be more resourceful in their production and disposal of food waste,”​ added Kehoe.

However, while consumers snack for a variety of reasons - meal replacer, energy boost, moment of comfort - FMCG Gurus findings show 69% of global consumers believe food can aid their emotional wellbeing.

“Amid today’s cost-of-living crisis, many consumers are looking for ways to make themselves happier,”​ said Kehoe, noting 40% of consumers seek out products that remind them of past, simpler times.

“This highlights that the bakery industry has the opportunity to promote their products under this branch of affordable indulgence and promote premium products as offering moments of comfort and escapism for consumers.”

Market insights from FMCG Gurus’ Health & Wellness in the Bakery Market in 2023 report.

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