The gap between consumption and recommended fibres intake undoubtedly is a public health issue – and a growing one. Limagrain Ingredients – a subsidiary of Limagrain, an agricultural cooperative owned by French farmers and an international seed group – is hoping to close this fibre gap.
Daily fibre recommendations for Europeans
Dietary fibres are part of the large carbohydrate family - whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables – characterised by their inability to be digested in the small intestine.
Depending on the European country, adults are recommended to consume between 25g to 35g per day.
The values for children are based on their daily energy requirements and therefore vary with age and gender, from around 15g/d for 4-6 year-olds to 21g to 30g/day for adolescents.
In 2021, the Riom-headquartered company teamed up with Centre de Recherche pour l’Etude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie (CREDOC) to survey the perceptions and attitudes of over 7,000 consumers across Europe towards dietary fibre, a study to be renewed every three years. The research – which taps consumers from France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Sweden – is part of Limagrain’s campaign to raise awareness of the inadequate level of dietary fibre in overall consumption and to provides concrete indications for fibre-rich products.
Key study takeaways
- Europeans express varying levels of concern about nutrition – depending on the country – but overall, 32% are focused on healthier foods, ahead of taste (18%), satisfying basic needs (14%) and price (10%).
- The top five products perceived to contain the most dietary fibre are cereals (27%), fruit and veg (23%), legumes (18%), bread, pasta, biscuits (10%) and nuts & seeds (7%). Only 18% of French respondents consider cereals to contain the most fiber, compared to 33% in Spain.
- European have poor knowledge when it comes to identifying types of dietary fibre, except for bran (74%). 72% do not identify resistant starch as dietary fibre and only 10% know what resistant starch is.
- There is a great disparity across Europe about microbiota: 58% of the Swedish population are familiar with intestinal microbiota, versus 31% in France and 12% in Germany .
- 87% of Europeans are, however, keen to up their fibre intake, with 17% say they would do so if there was better communication on labels, while 14% want a wider range of fibre-rich products.
Enter LifyWheat, the pioneering non-GMO wheat that boasts a naturally higher resistant starch content.
“Arista Technologies is a joint venture between Limagrain ingredient and CSIRO, a big research centre in Australia … working for more than 20 years to develop this new high fiber wheat,” Anne Lionnet, CEO of Arista Cereal Technologies told Bakery&Snacks.
LifyWheat is touted to contain 10 x more fibre than common white wheat flour and 25% more fibre than standard wheat. Additionally, 80% of the fibres in LifyWheat are resistant starch.
“Thanks to its high content in resistant starch, LifyWheat can replace part of the digestible starch by resistant starch and contributes to a reduction of the after-meal blood sugar,” added Lionnet.
It also has a positive impact on the gut microbiota in the gut – the ‘good bacteria’.
Because different fibres have different structures and functions, not all have all these physiological and health effects. Resistant starch is an important asset in reducing the carb response to meals. In addition, it’s efficiently fermented in the gut – meaning it’s a good substrate for bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, which are able to regulate many functions in the gut. And there’s a growing body of evidence that the health of the gut is directly linked to overall health and wellbeing.
Best of all, it enables new product developers to increase in the fibre content of any product without any compromise on taste, texture or even the dietary habits of consumers. Like any other wheat, LifyWheat is a multipurpose ingredient that can be used in a wide range of applications, from breads to biscuits, breakfast cereals to snacks. It can be incorporated as a partial or total replacement for wheat flour or wheat grains without any major change in the process.
“This high fibre flour can improve the nutritional profile of the product without compromising, because there’s no impact on taste, colour and you can still eat, for example, white bread, but with the benefits of high fibre inside,” said Lionnet.
“Everybody is eating wheat or bread … so this was the idea to improve the diet of people [around] the world.”
Available in formats for large manufacturer to artisanal bakers, Arista is building a distributor network around the globe.
“We already have some partners - in North America called Bay State Milling, Nisshin Seifun Group in Japan – and Australia – supplying this wheat to their customers,” said Lionnet.
The balancing act
At iba, Limagrain Ingredients also took the opportunity to showcase many of its other natural solutions that address current trends of the industry.
“We’re here to support Arista and Anne to develop this new ingredient, which is really a breakthrough to support a customer developing a new nutritional solution,” said Laurent Vulliermet, commercial manager for Limagrain Ingredients.
“There is a huge challenge to date to propose healthier products to the consumer … so we need to provide the right solution to the industry to formulate them without compromising pleasure.
“It’s a balancing [act], which is [often] difficult to showcase. On one side, we have this ambition to do it in the most natural manner possible, to not involve chemical transformation [or] foreign ingredients that you won't see naturally in the recipe. The other side is currently a very difficult market. Cost optimisation is very important for our customers and here, we can help them to rework their recipe and reduce costs.”
Among its extensive portfolio of bakery improvers, mixes & premixes, fibres & germs, puffed & toasted ingredients is the InnoSense five-strong range of functional flours. A hydro-thermal process is used to create the flours, which have been shown to replace starch, improve hydration, save on costs and enrich products – from pastries to savoury snacks – with protein and fibre. Innosense Texturiser, for example, adds crispiness and crunchiness or enhance creaminess and softness, while Innosense Nutrition adds fibre and vegetable protein, while reducing fat and sugar content.
“We have a strong expertise in selecting the right raw material to develop its technical properties … and that helps us to adjust customer’s recipes to remove gums and additives from the labels – which will be far more natural – but still delivering a very pleasureful product in the end with the same shelf life,” said Vulliermet.