New launches of dairy drinks containing either inulin or oligofructose, or a combination of the two, have surged, according to supplier BENEO-Orafti. In 2002, just 15 new dairy drinks came to the global market containing at least one these chicory-derived ingredients, compared with 164 last year.
Inulin can be used as a fat substitute, while oligofructose can be used to replace sugar in products. Both also have prebiotic qualities. The increase in usage of the two ingredients reflects growing concern about obesity and a greater interest in gut health, said Tim Van der Schraelen, marketing and communication manager at BENEO-Orafti.
"Convenience is still a big driver in the promotion of dairy drinks, with 34 percent of new products launched using it to sell the product. But health has overtaken it as the primary claim used to encourage sales, with 42 percent of producers using it to sell the product. Against this backdrop, we have seen an eleven-fold increase in the number of dairy drink products brought to market that contain inulin and oligofructose over the past five years, from small beginnings back in 2002."
Some 17 percent of the dairy drinks containing inulin and oligofructose launched over the past five years have used 'low fat' as a main driver for positioning , with 13 percent using "gut health," BENEO-Orafti said. But only 3 per cent opted to use "low sugar" as a key driver.
North America leads the field with dairy drinks that contain inulin and oligofructose, with 10 percent of dairy drinks on the market in North America featuring at least one of these ingredients, compared with 7.4 per cent in Western Europe and 4.8 percent in Asia.