Consumer interest in fiber has been re-kindled in the past couple of years beyond the major fascination with proteins. Innova considers fiber to be a top trend in 2018 as indicated by more than doubling of new sports nutrition launches containing fiber since 2014. About 64% of US consumers now consume fiber for digestive health.
Fiber is added to almost every type of food for nutrient content, physiological benefits, and functional benefits. Beyond fortification for health benefits, it can be used to for texture improvement, improving resiliency, breakage reduction, shelf-life enhancement, and to improve the texture of traditional as well as healthy baked goods such as gluten-free, whole grain, alternate grain-based, and other targeted healthy bakery products.
FDA’s decision to define fiber for the first time in 2016, caused considerable confusion and uncertainty in the market-place. Now the definitions have for the most part been clarified through the release of guidance documents. However, there are still some uncertainties covering a wide range of related topics.
The considerable recent interest in fibers is driven to a great extent by consumers’ exposure to the impact of fiber on the microbiome. Scientific knowledge on the microbiome is growing at an exponential rate. The promise is that beyond probiotics and prebiotics, fibers can provide considerable health benefits. The food industry has started to develop foods, beverages, and baked goods related to some of these benefits beyond heart health. An early example of a benefit targeted is digestive health.
- Understand FDA’s 2016 fiber regulation: Which fibers can be used, and clarification of other key aspects of fiber use impacted by the regulation
- Strategies to improve traditional and healthy baked goods with fiber while simultaneously improving texture and other sensory properties
- A brief understanding of the promise of fiber’s impact on the microbiome
Rajen Mehta, Grain Millers, Inc.