Soy, psyllium, cellulose. . .guar, inulin, polydextrose... pectin, potato, pea... apple, acacia, sesame... Agar agar!... Fruit, flax, fructooligosaccharides... Bamboo!... CHI-cor-y (think Swiss cough drops commercial)
No, it’s not a Seussian rhyme for food scientists, but a list of some sources of dietary fiber. For those who take their fiber too seriously, it is time to lighten up...or bulk up, with fiber.
Also known as roughage in the past, dietary fiber has taken on new clout among the fiber-consuming intelligentsia. As we look at new products with “added fiber” claims from around the world, it is clear that fiber no longer is something used as simply a bulking agent. Fiber now is added to many foods and beverages in every food category for its numerous health benefits.
The main sources of fiber in the diet include grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and ingredients derived from them. Grain sources such as wheat, oats, and barley are popular; however, emerging sources include flax, quinoa, spelt and amaranth.
The fiber sources mentioned at the beginning of this article and others were associated with new products that Mintel International’s Global New Product Database (GNPD) tagged as touting “added fiber.” Fiber sources also included seaweed, coconut, maltodextrin, and resistant starch. “Bioactive fibers” were listed under various names such as oligosaccharides, oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), isomalto-oligosaccharides, glucomannan, and inulin (also listed by sources including chicory root or chicory fiber).
Fiber: A Rising Star
Statistically, the number of new products/line extensions introduced into North America (U.S. and Canada) tagged by the GNPD as having a dietary fiber claim increased to 29 products in 2002. This is up from 24 items in 2001; 21 in 2000; and only six in 1999 (when the GNPD first tracked such product positioning).
Globally, in 2002, there were a total of 662 products the GNPD flagged as "added fiber,"? an increase of almost 35% over the number of products from last year, which totaled 492. In 2001, most "fiber added" products were in the dairy category (21%), followed by bakery (20%), and breakfast cereals (12%). While the top three categories for fiber-added products remain the same, their positions have shifted slightly. The dairy category increased 7% percent this year, with double the products. A large number of fiber-containing yogurts that contain prebiotic inulin and oligofructose, as well as probiotic cultures, came from overseas.
In the weight control sector, the number of products almost doubled, with an increase of 63%. Desserts and ice cream more than doubled the number of products in that category with an increase of 133%. Products in the soup category also increased by 125%, while confectionery increased by 50%.
Of the U.S. products positioned as having "added fiber,"? according to the GNPD, about half were in the baked goods/baking mixes or cereal categories. At the beginning of last year, Nu-World Amaranth, Naperville, Ill., launched its new brand, Nu-World Foods. This line of organic, wheat/gluten-free products includes amaranth-containing breadcrumbs, puffed cereal, flour, toasted bran flour and cereal snaps.
Ready-to-drink meal replacement energy shakes and bars under EAS's, Golden, Colo., EAS Results for Women brand are sold as dietary supplements. The bars contain ingredients that include oligofructose, maltodextrin, and arabinogalactan, a prebiotic fiber that supports the body's immune system and has been shown to exhibit anti-tumor activity.
Carbsense Foods Inc., Hood River, Ore., debuted its line of low-carb baking mixes. The line includes fiber-added mixes for pancakes, bread, pizza crust, honey bran muffins, and a zero-carb baking mix. Ingredients in some of the products include: pumpkin seed flour, oat fiber or oat bran, soy proteins, wheat protein isolate, guar gum, and sucralose.
In Canada, 10 new products were noted as having "added fiber." Toronto-based The Root Chip Company Inc. introduced high-fiber chips made with ingredients such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and canola oil. The Kashi Go Lean brand of The Kashi Co., La Jolla, Calif., added Oatmeal Raisin to its line of cookie bars made with seven whole grains and sesame cereal, oat fiber, and inulin from chicory root.
The information in this article was derived from Mintel International's Global New Products Database, www.gnpd.com, 312-932-0400.
Sidebar: Going Global
Fiber-containing water from South Africa, high-fiber mayonnaise from Israel, fiber-containing apricot-filled licorice pieces from Australia, and bamboo fiber in meat products from Sweden and Austria, dot the fiber-added landscape around the globe.
Several high-fiber products were introduced in the weight control category, capitalizing on fiber's satiety value.
For example, in Australia, Novartis Consumer Health re-launched Ultra Slim Mousse Meal Replacement with 17% fiber, including inulin and partially hydrolyzed guar gum. Brazil's Sopa Lev introduced Light Instant Soup under the Nutrilatina brand. With the claim that it "helps slimming in less time," the product contains maltodextrin, guar gum, and carrageenan.
Slimwel-branded Collagen Juice Drink, from Jet Win Food, was introduced in Hong Kong in mid-2002 with collagen and "fibre."? The fiber source is not mentioned.
Also in 2002, Japan's Asahi Soft Drinks launched Slim No Mikata "Soy Milk Diet Drink with Beer Enzymes." The drink contains an interesting mix of isomalto-oligosaccharides, beer enzymes and dietary fiber (dextrin), as well as a "cellulose" stabilizer.
More novel fiber sources are seen in New South Wales, Australia. Dick Smith Foods' Bush Foods Breakfast has four grains, five fruits, macadamia nuts, wattle seeds, Australian honey and mangoes, and Australian bushfood seasonings (strawberry eucalyptus leaves, roasted wattleseeds, lemon myrtle, rosella flour, aniseed myrtle). These ingredients are based on Australian native food plants (a.k.a. bush tucker or bush food). Wattle seeds, from wattle trees (Acacia sp.), are nutritious, high in fiber and protein. Macadamia nuts are indigenous to the country, also.
In light of its beta-glucan content and ability to lower cholesterol, several new fiber products containing oats included oat cereals, breads, cookies, crackers, soups, veggie burgers and beverages,
Spain's Galletas GullÃ³n introduced Avena Fibra cookies that contain oats, oat flakes, oat fiber, and soy protein. The company also has Diet-Fibra BioActivas biscuits with "vegetable fiber" for a "bifidus effect to balance the intestinal flora."
Guten Morgen Drink from Döhles was introduced in Germany in early 2002. The beverage contains fiber from oats, lemon and apple pectin, as well as fruit juice concentrates. The GNPD reports it claims to "support the immune system and digestion."
However, perhaps no single food product contained as much fiber as Wasa Köstlich Knäckebrot crispbread, introduced in Germany as a line extension. With wholegrain rye flour, wheat bran, sesame seed, and wheat fiber, the total fiber content is a whopping 24%. Trinken Sie bitte das Wasser! (Drink water, please!)