Fibre finding its way into OJ and other beverages

In the fortified orange juice wars, major suppliers are furnishing major finished-goods manufacturers with everything from vitamins to boutique fine chemicals, all in an effort to gain consumer acceptance of condition-specific health benefits.

Tropicana, which already has a line in its orange juice suite with added vitamins C and E, is ready to launch a new line of OJ fortified with fibre, Fibersol-2, supplied from ADM through a licensing and manufacturing arrangement with Matsutani in Japan.

"Matsutani has had several years of successfully incorporating Fibersol-2 into various food items in Japan, including bottled water, beer, diary items and other food items," said Doug Millar, ADM's vice president of product and market development for the corn processing, natural health and nutrition, and speciality food ingredients divisions. "ADM has developed strong ties with product developers in major food companies, which allow us to incorporate our nutritional ingredients into their product brands with the objective of satisfying a required consumer benefit."

It doesn't hurt the cause that US government recommendations call for significantly higher fibre intake — the US Department of Agriculture says nine out of 10 American adults do not consume enough fibre. Coupled with that is new technology that allows fibre to be available as a water-soluble ingredient. "Putting fibre into beverages is beyond just the next big thing. It is the big thing," said Steven Young, PhD, North American technical adviser for Matsutani America and principal at Steven Young Worldwide consultancy. "Beverages are the perfect vehicle to deliver adequate dietary fibre, and you can deliver a lot of it per serving, if you use the right fibre. For example, you can put 25g of Fibersol-2 into eight fluid ounces of water and you wouldn't even know it's there — although at that amount you might note a slight increase in viscosity and slight yellow tint."

The Tropicana juice contains three grams of added fibre per 8oz serving.

Young described Fibersol-2 as being made from corn starch, which in itself has no fibre, but in the process of making the maltodextrin and changing the conditions under which it is made, the net ingredient is rendered 90 per cent indigestible, totally water-soluble, and dietary fibre by analysis.

Because of rigorous heating and acid treatments during manufacturing, Fibersol-2 is inherently stable to acid and heat, making it compatible with all thermal processes. Thus, it a natural for the pasteurisation as well as the acidity of the juice.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts fruitful fibre future
Highly publicised health benefits, greater formulation potential, government support and widespread dietary deficits are contributing to ramped up demand for fibre foods in the US, according to a new report. Market analyst Frost & Sullivan forecasts strong growth for the US fibre market, with sales soaring from $193 million in 2004 to $495 million by 2011.

It noted the wide range of food sectors looking to fibre ingredients producers for ways to boost the fibre content of their products. Cargill, Nurture, National Starch, DSM, Orafti and Bio Serae are just a few of the many players offering innovative fibre solutions to food and beverage manufacturers all over the world.

"The primary benefits of fibre lie in its capability to improve consumer appeal by providing statements about overall fibre content and health benefits," the report noted. "The key to tapping this growth is to educate the public and food manufacturers about the necessity of fibre for a healthy well-being."

The fibre market received a substantial boost when US Department of Agriculture guidelines published in 2005 advised adults to consume 25 to 30g of fibre a day. Yet the average American consumes only 15g of fibre, creating, as Frost & Sullivan puts it, "huge potential for growth in the food fibre industry."

The Food and Drug Administration permitted products containing more than 0.75g of the oat soluble fibre beta-glucan to carry heart health claims in 1997, while a swathe of science has demonstrated fibre's ability to control weight and reduce cholesterol and digestive diseases if consumed in great enough quantities.

Pennsylvania-based Nurture won Frost & Sullivan's 2005 Product Innovation Leadership of the Year Award for its OatVantage soluble fibre ingredient. "OatVantage's unique high level of concentration opens up (the 1997) broadly recognised and highly marketable health claim, previously only available to oat cereals, to new product categories," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Jennifer Steinke. "These include supplements that can now make the health claim at a convenient two-tablet dose, as well as food and beverage products that want to provide this value-added benefit without adversely affecting product taste or texture."

— Shane Starling

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