How UK companies are helping to bridge the nation’s fiber gap

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Eating a diet rich in fiber is suprisingly simple to do and beneficial for all ages. Pic: GettyImages/bymuratdeniz
Eating a diet rich in fiber is suprisingly simple to do and beneficial for all ages. Pic: GettyImages/bymuratdeniz

Related tags Fiber Food and drink federation Action on Fibre Npd

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Action on Fibre initiative has made a demonstrable impact over the past year.

More than 90% of UK adults don’t eat enough fiber (rising to as many as 95% in the US). Guidelines say adults should consume 30g a day, however, a whopping 70% are unsure whether or not they even meet that requirement.

But what is especially surprising about this supposed nonchalance is that 60% of Brits actually know that increasing their fiber intake is great for their health. Most understand it supports a healthy digestive system, while some are even aware it can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

In memoriam

TV health guru and science journalist Dr Michael Moseley – who recently died of heat exhaustion while on holiday in Greece – was a proponent of fiber that “feeds the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut, which then help to provide many health benefits, like controlling your immune system, blood sugar, brain function and weight.” His Fast 800 diet is a long-term maintenance approach based the 5:2 (intermittent fasting), high intensity interval training (HIIT) and the high-in-fiber Mediterranean diet.

Thankfully, the food industry is stepping up to change the status quo.

In 2021, the Food and Drink Federation launched the Action on Fibre initiative to help bridge the fiber gap (the difference between recommendation and actual consumer intake).

Twenty-five UK brands signed up to raise awareness of the benefits of fiber, but more importantly, make high fiber products more accessible to the public.

Participating companies – including Kellanova, pladis, Weetabix, Kingsmill, Warburtons, KP Snacks and a host of other household names – knuckled down and delivered 17 reformulated products and 134 new recipes to market, which in total, provided 190 million additional servings of fiber to the population (the equivalent of 144m bowls of bran flakes or 207 million slices of wholemeal bread).

And what a delicious way to make an impact, with the higher fiber options across a wide range of categories, from bread and bakery products to breakfast cereals and savory snacks.

In another metric, Kantar Worldpanel data shows that in 2023, Action on Fibre member products on average contained 46% more fiber than the total food and drink market (Sales Weighted Average fibre in g per 100g).

“We are proud of the demonstrable impact of our Action on Fibre initiative and the great efforts by participating brands to bring higher fiber options to the market,” said Kate Halliwell, FDF’s chief scientific officer.

“This is no simple task: healthier product innovation is technically challenging, takes time and requires substantial investment.”

Participating brands

Cereal Partners Worldwide UK, Quorn, Kingsmill, Allinson’s, Kellanova, KP Snacks, Birds Eye, Aunt Bessie’s, Goodfella’s Pizza (Nomad Foods), Warburtons, Weetabix Food Company, Jordans, Dorset, Ryvita, General Mills, pladis, Dr Schär, Innocent, Nestlé, Jacksons Bakery, Premier Foods, Daymer Ingredients Limited, Graze, Tate & Lyle and AB Mauri.

The initiative has also enlisted its first retail partner. Recognizing the role that retailers can also play, Lidl has joined the movement to ramp up the message about the benefits of higher fiber options.

“To truly bridge the fibre gap in the UK and improve the health of our nation, higher fiber diets need to be seen as more appealing, normal and easy for the population,” added Halliwell.

“Collaboration is key and we encourage others in retail and across the industry, government, healthcare professionals and charities to partner with us to buck the trend.”

The number of additional servings was obtained from self-reported data of participating members.

Five fiber-rich NPD standouts in 2024

Equii

Equii’s Balance Bread (formerly marketed as +Fiber) rolled out in 88 Hy-Vee grocery stores across eight Midwestern states, marking a substantial growth in the company’s distribution network. Available in Classic Wheat and Multigrain, the bread serves up 3g-4g of fiber and 8g of complete protein per slice, providing 13% Daily Value of Protein, 14% Daily Value of Fiber and 45% less net carbs – which the producer claims is the ‘most comprehensive nutritional profile of any bread on the market’.

DAve's

Dave’s Killer Bread developed Organic Rock ‘N’ Rolls to answer the demand for wholegrain. Packed with wholewheat, barley, oats and flax seeds, the rolls punch in with 12g wholegrain, 3g fiber and 5g protein. They’re also Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and are free of high fructose corn syrup and bleached flour (RRP $6.99 for 12-ct pack from selected grocery outlets across the US).

Warburtons

Action on Fibre participant Warburtons launched Gluten Free Soft Pittas that are not only Coeliac UK-certified and wheat- and milk-free, but a great source of fiber and calcium. Britain’s largest Free From bakery brand is determined to reinvigorate ‘the struggling but important subcategory’ and according to chairman Jonathan Warburton, will be “investing significantly over the next three years in our Gluten Free range to grow, evolve and meet ongoing demand”. Available from major UK retailers for an RRP of $3 for a 4-pack.

Calbee

At Sweets & Snacks Expo, Calbee America debuted Harvest Snaps Crunchy Puffs, crafted from navy beans as the #1 ingredient to ramp up the fiber and plant protein content in every serving. The treats combine wholesome nutrition with big taste and are available in sweet and tangy Honey Dijon, zesty Loaded Taco, and spicy White Cheddar Jalapeno variants. Currently only available online for an RRP of $5.89 for a 4.2oz pack.

Fiber One Donuts, Lifestyle

Fiber One has upped its game with the introduction of Fiber One Donuts. The 100 calorie treat perfectly balances satisfaction with guilt-free indulgence, coming in with 4g of fiber and only 3g of sugar. Available in Chocolate and Strawberries & Crème, topped with icing and crunchy sprinkles, from Walmart and Kroger outlets in the US for an RRP of $4.29.

Related news

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars