Global functional food sales increased by almost 50% between 2002 and 2005, and are set to rise an additional 30% by 2010, according to figures from market analyst Euromonitor International. Such impressive growth figures translate into massive opportunities for food manufacturers, however they are also cause for concern. Consumers and regulators are becoming increasingly intolerant of products based on unsubstantiated claims and paper-thin scientific arguments. They want to see evidence-based products, which are scientifically proven to improve health. And for product developers any functional ingredient needs to be backed by watertight clinical evidence. Once again, ORAFTI’s Beneo™Synergy1 has shown groundbreaking new scientific evidence in the domain of bone health, which no other functional ingredient can claim. For food manufacturers looking to create scientifically sound products which deliver confirmed health benefits, this research offers untapped opportunities for making powerful claims. 50% risk of osteoporosis fracture Calcium is an essential mineral in the body. More than 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bone, providing vital support to the skeleton. Calcium levels can only be maintained through the diet, because the body does not produce calcium itself. However, data suggests that many people are consuming well below the recommended daily amount of calcium. USA data estimates that 70% of American adults have low calcium intakes, while in Europe low intakes have been reported in a number of ‘at risk’ groups, including 50% of
Irish girls, 75% of French women over 55 and 16% of British 14-34 year olds. A low calcium intake is one of the reasons for the increasing prevalence of osteoporosis. Characterized by low bone density and bone fragility, osteoporosis affects one in three women after menopause. As life expectancy increases in the western world, so does the incidence of the disease - at an alarming rate. Indeed, the lifetime risk of an osteoporosis fracture in people over 50 is 50% in women and 25% in men. Increasing calcium intake via supplementation and calcium-fortified foods helps to address this issue. However, there is no guarantee that the body will absorb the supplemented calcium. With public health measures and calcium supplementation failing to get this escalating problem in check, there is an opportunity for the food industry to develop products which protect against the risk of developing osteoporosis by increasing calcium absorption and strengthening bones.
Beneo™Synergy1 Beneo™Synergy1, patented by ORAFTI, is a unique composition of oligofructose and inulin, derived from the chicory root. Oligofructose and inulin are natural ingredients that occur in over 36,000 plants and vegetables. They are selectively fermented by the intestinal flora. This means they act as prebiotics - improving the balance of the body’s intestinal flora by stimulating beneficial bifidobacteria and contributing to a healthy digestive system. Scientific research supported by ORAFTI has also established that Synergy1 helps the body absorb more essential nutrients, such as calcium, from the diet. Now, the latest research by Dr. Steven Abrams at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, has not only shown that Beneo™Synergy1 increases calcium uptake, but also concluded categorically that the extra-absorbed calcium is going exactly where it is needed - straight to the bones.
Proven by science Support for the role of inulin and oligofructose in bone health began in the early nineties with a series of animal and human studies. The results of the human studies were promising, showing that inulin and oligofructose improve calcium absorption. However, in these studies, inulin and oligofructose were consumed at very high levels. In light of these results, ORAFTI developed a new form of oligofructose-enriched inulin: Beneo™Synergy1, which has superior efficiency in increasing calcium absorption. In an animal study, Beneo™Synergy1 resulted in a significant increase in calcium uptake in comparison to standard oligofructose or inulin
. Human studies have since lent further support to these findings. In 2002, 29 teenage girls took part in a study at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine. Just 8g per day of Beneo™Synergy1 boosted calcium absorption by almost 20%
. Such positive results are not limited to adolescents. In 2004, 10g per day of Beneo™Synergy1 was shown to increase a change in calcium absorption by 20% in post-menopausal women in comparison to the control group
The missing link A ground-breaking long-term study has now taken bone health science to a new level, providing concrete evidence that increased calcium absorption actually translates to tangible improvements in bone health
. The human intervention study was carried out at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor. One hundred adolescents were given either 8g Beneo™Synergy1 or an equivalent amount of placebo every day for a year. Calcium absorption and bone mineral density were far higher in those who consumed Beneo™Synergy1. After one year, the increase in Bone Mineral Density (BMD) among the Beneo™Synergy1 group was 45% higher compared to the controls. The researchers also measured Bone Mineral Content (BMC) and found that in the Beneo™Synergy1 group the bone calcium accretion increased by an extra 30mg per day - proof that extra calcium was actually deposited in the bones.
Market opportunities These results open the door to new and innovative functional foods. Whether looking to develop a product aimed at maximizing bone health in children or minimizing calcium loss in middle-aged consumers, the food industry can capitalize on the science that Beneo™Synergy1 supports.
Adult + Low hormone levels in middle-aged women are known to cause the bones to leach calcium – lowering bone density and to increase the risk of osteoporosis. Beneo™Synergy1 can minimize the loss of calcium from the bones and in turn help prevent against osteoporosis. As osteoporosis is becoming increasingly common, consumers are more aware of the link between diet and health. Self-prevention through dietary measures is a positive approach that is appealing to more and more consumers. An early adopter of this concept is
Works with Water (UK), that recently launched a range of ‘nutraceutical spring waters’ each product targeted at another member of the family: Water of life (seniors), Eau Man, Aqua family, Little Squirts (kids) etc. They all contain enriched inulin claiming prebiotic, fiber or bone health, as well as a great taste.
Youngsters Throughout childhood and early adulthood, calcium is taken up by the bones and stored. Absorption is enhanced during childhood and adolescence, so if calcium intakes are low during these critical periods, bone health in later life is at risk. This opportunity is already captured by a number of innovative products in the market: o
, (US) the entire yogurt line contains
‘… helps boost calcium absorption and is clinically proven to increase bone density …’.
New Tree, (Belgium & UK) producers of high quality and innovative chocolate products launched with younger consumers in mind. Purplaisir, the chocolate paste with BENEO™,
claims bone health benefits. o
Calcio+ from Galletas Gullón (SP), is one of 5 successful biscuits with Beneo™ on the market in Spain.
From fruit juices to bars As well as delivering well-documented health benefits, Beneo™Synergy1 can also have a positive effect on the taste and quality of the end product. Exceptional sugar and fat replacing characteristics and the ability to improve texture and mouthfeel are just some of the attributes that make Beneo™Synergy1 an ideal ingredient in well-balanced foods. Beneo™Synergy1 is suitable for use in a range of conventional foods - from fruit juices to yogurts and cereal bars - as well as functional foods. Even calcium-enriched products can benefit from Beneo™Synergy1.
The claims Products containing Beneo™Synergy1 can now be marketed to improve bone health, as well as for calcium absorption claims. This creates an advantage for products formulated with Beneo™Synergy1. In addition, ORAFTI conducts consumer market research on a worldwide basis to provide our customers with information that is relevant and attractive to their consumers based on our science.
Conclusion As consumers become increasingly health conscious and legislation becomes more stringent, products, which cannot prove their purported health benefits, are likely to be forced out of the market. Beneo™Synergy1 gives food manufacturers the chance to develop innovative and enduring products that deliver bone health benefits both consumers and regulators can trust. [1,414]
About ORAFTI Group ORAFTI Group is a subsidiary of the Belgian agro-food group Raffinerie Tirlemontoise/Tiense Suikerraffinaderij and is part of the ORAFTI/PALATINIT Ingredients Group of Südzucker (Germany). ORAFTI Group produces Beneo™ ingredients from chicory roots. With its headquarters in Tienen, Belgium, ORAFTI operates three chicory production facilities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Chile and is represented in more than 75 countries via an affiliate and distributor network
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1 Coudray C, Tressol JC, Gueux E, Rayssiguier Y (2003). Effects of inulin-type fructans of different chain length and type of branching on intestinal absorption and balance of calcium and magnesium in rats. European Journal of Nutrition, 42, 91-98.
2Griffin IJ, Davila PM, Abrams SA (2002). Non-digestible oligosaccharides and calcium absorption in girls with adequate calcium intakes. British Journal of Nutrition, 87, S187-S191.
3 Holloway L, Moynihan S. Abrams SA, Kent K, Hsu, AR, Friedlander AL (2004). Effects of oligofructose enriched inulin on calcium and magnesium absorption and bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women. Submitted.
4Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Liang L, Gunn SK, Darlington G et al (2005). A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005; 82: 471 - 476