Welcome to our quarterly feature on leading companies that are breaking new ground, solving formulation issues, and expanding markets through innovative ingredients and applications. This month we look at four fibre suppliers
Hi-maize resistant starch is the only natural food-ingredient form of resistant starch on the market. A unique form of fibre, resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine like other starches, but resists digestion and becomes fermented in the large intestine, where it acts like fibre.
Resistant starch naturally occurs in foods such as unprocessed whole grains, legumes and bananas. Made from a naturally occurring hybrid of corn, Hi-maize maintains its natural-starch granule so it labels simply as 'cornstarch.'
"Manufacturers can count on all-natural Hi-maize to meet consumer expectations for 'natural'," says Rhonda Witwer, business development manager, nutrition.
It is important to note that dietary fibre and dietary resistant starches are not interchangeable, Witwer notes. "Publications are demonstrating that Hi-maize resistant starch delivers benefits considered different from those of other types of fibre and resistant starches," she says.
Many of these benefits are based on its fermentation within the large intestine. As a prebiotic fibre, Hi-maize's fermentation releases a cascade of biological changes. Recently published human clinical studies have shown that dietary consumption of Hi-maize increases insulin sensitivity in healthy individuals, shifts the body to burning stored fat as its energy source instead of dietary carbohydrate, promotes colonic health and helps to restore intestinal balance.
Also, because it is an insoluble fibre that is fermented slowly, it has a very high tolerance, and does not cause digestive side effects commonly found with other fermentable fibre. Clinical trials have found that 45g of dietary fibre from Hi-maize consumed per day did not produce significant differences in digestive side effects.
Major food companies around the world have included Hi-maize resistant starch in products such as bread for the better part of a decade. In Australia and the United Kingdom, resistant starch is known at the consumer level as a value-added ingredient in great tasting, better-for-you products, Witwer says.
"The future for Hi-maize is bright as consumers, health-care professionals and the food industry become increasingly aware of its different benefits and how it can be used in a health-promoting diet," Witwer says.
To continue to increase awareness, the company recently launched a new web portal at resistantstarch.com to help health-care professionals become more familiar with the variety of value propositions associated with resistant starch.
Fibrex and Litesse
Danish food-production company, Danisco, offers two unique ingredients with fibre benefits.
Fibrex, or sugar-beet fibre, is a natural product made from the sugar beet after the sugar is extracted. Because Fibrex contains both soluble and insoluble fibre, it brings unique properties to finished products.
The insoluble fibre in Fibrex, pectin, forms a gel when mixed with water and gives dough a softer and more velvety texture that renders it more machine friendly. In bread, Fibrex will retain water when baked, thereby slowing down the ageing (ie, staling or starch degradation) process. The result is bread that remains moister and softer longer and consequently is perceived to be fresher but without the use of chemicals or E-numbers. Fibrex is heat stable so it will maintain its characteristics throughout freezing, baking and frying. Also, because it is gluten free, it can provide an excellent source of dietary fibre to gluten-free bakery items. Fibrex is added to meat to modify texture and provide a low-calorie filler throughout cooking or frying. It is also sold as dietary-fibre tablets or in packets to be added to juice or water.
Litesse is Danisco's brand name for polydextrose, which was initially developed as a bulking agent to be used in combination with the new breed of intense sweeteners developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "After initial developments, it was obvious that polydextrose had a unique combination of health benefits," says Michael Bond, business director, Danisco Sweeteners, UK.
Manufactured in Indiana, US, Litesse acts as a soluble dietary fibre with proven prebiotic effects and low-glycaemic effect, and can replace sugar and fat while improving flavour, texture and mouthfeel — but without a laxative effect, in a wide variety of applications.
Currently, Litesse is found in many products including baked goods, dairy products, nutrition bars, cereals, beverages, confections and yoghurt — and the company predicts more growth. "We expect significant market growth; this year, we expect a new Food Additive Petition to be granted by the US Food and Drug Administration, permitting the use of polydextrose in a broader range of applications in the US, which would open up additional applications areas," Bond says.
Mounting research is showing fibre does more than help keep the body regular, it also regulates blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and may even prevent some cancers. Not only are consumers getting the message and buying high-fibre products in record numbers, suppliers are bulking up on their high-fibre offerings as well.
The latest generation of soluble-fibre ingredients allows manufacturers to add substantial fibre to their products but without compromising flavour and consistency, or increasing fat and calorie content.
Produced from the seed of the guar plant, Taiyo's Sunfiber is a natural fibre ingredient that is gluten free, nonallergenic and vegetarian. Sunfiber should not be confused with the common thickening agent guar gum; made from partially hydrolyzed guar gum, Sunfiber is manufactured using an enzymatic hydrolysis reaction, giving it unique properties.
Because it is colourless and flavourless, Sunfiber is easily adaptable to a variety of finished products. "Some soluble fibres can add a bean taste, smell or sweetness, but with Sunfiber, formulators can control the tastes as they wish without a flavour entering into their formula from the functional ingredient," says Bill Driessen, technical sales manager, Americas, for Taiyo, Int'l based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The 100 per cent water-soluble fibre also will not change a products' consistency like some other fibres. "It does not change the viscosity of beverages so formulators don't need to worry about any thickness coming from the addition of dietary fibre," Driessen says.
Another of Sunfiber's distinguishing properties is its stability. "It is highly stable against low pH, heat in processing and salt. Other soluble-fibre ingredients can degrade the product's shelf life so if it's tested, the fibre content may be lower than the claimed content," Driessen says. With Sunfiber, formulators will not have to add excess overages or increase pH to avoid such issues.
First introduced in Japan in 1987, Sunfiber is now made in Taiyo's modern production facility in India. Currently, Sunfiber can be found in a variety of finished products including juice, yoghurt, cereal, energy bars, health/sport shakes, pastas and in fibre supplements.
Sunfiber's future may include a starring role in a new generation of diet products. "Some dietary fibres offer a satiety effect by increasing their volume and growing in the digestive system," Driessen says. "Sunfiber does this without causing bloating because it passes very slowly through the digestive tract and reduces craving by lowering glycaemic index of foods. It has also been shown to increase the production of the satiety hormone known as cholecystokinin."
Archer Daniels Midland
Fibersol-2 was developed more than 20 years ago by Matsutani Chemical Industries in Japan. Today it is manufactured at Archer Daniels Midland's US plant in Iowa in accordance with proprietary and patented Japanese technologies under strict supervision of Matsutani Chemical. There, US manufacturing expertise and efficiencies are applied to Japanese technologies, manufacturing specifications and finished-product quality standards.
Fibersol-2 is approved in all countries in which maltodextrins are approved as GRAS food ingredients. Recognition of Fibersol-2 as a source of dietary fibre is dependent on local regulatory considerations.
Fibersol-2 is a 90 per cent water-soluble dietary fibre made from the re-arrangement of natural chemical bonds in cornstarch. By simply modifying the conditions under which regular maltodextrin is made from cornstarch, a fully indigestible carbohydrate mix is created. The product is enzymatically treated with digestible carbohydrates physically separated from indigestible carbohydrates. The indigestible fraction is refined for superior flavour and colour, then concentrated and dried. The result is a fibre that is highly water soluble, 90 per-cent-plus indigestible, colour free, flavour free and stable to all industrial-processing conditions.
"The product can be used in virtually any food, beverage or dietary-supplement product application to achieve unique dietary-fibre levels compatible with various nutrient content and/or structure-function claim available," says Steve Young, technical advisor for Fibersol-2.
With Fibersol-2, consumers will not experience the bloating and flatulence that sometimes accompanies fibre products. "The partial and slow fermentation of Fibersol-2 allows for slow development of acid and gas, which allows for secondary health benefits [of fibre] without gastric distress; there is no like source of dietary fibre," Young says.
Research demonstrates that Fibersol-2 imparts various health benefits. In addition to aiding in regularity it also functions as a prebiotic, helping to maintain beneficial microflora in the intestine. Fibrersol-2 has no effect on blood-glucose levels or insulin response. It has also been shown to maintain healthful serum-triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
In addition to its use in a variety of finished foods, beverages and dietary supplements, Fibersol-2 is sold over the counter in canisters. "It's most striking application is its use in Tropicana's Fiber Fortified Orange Juice — a testament to Fibersol-2's functional, compositional and nutritional properties," Young says.
Young believes that the presence of Fibersol-2 will continue to grow as more government agencies and health professionals promote the health benefits and consumption of dietary fibre. "We cannot add that much fibre per person per day without supplementation," he says. "Fibersol-2 can easily be used to fill this consumption gap in a variety of foods and supplements without changing the food's sensory characteristics or how it's made."