Natural Products Insider

APR 2012

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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One unique challenge for prebiotic fibers is in combination formulas with probiotics. "Because probiotics are living organisms, much more care is required when formulating, noting a primary concern is water activity." —Larry Robinson, Ph.D., vice president scientific affairs for Embria Health Sciences Wi th so much growth in fiber ingredient types and applications, each project is bound to have a specific set of challenges—as Arnold said, "There is no one-size-fits-all approach to [fiber] formulation." Yazbek suggested food and beverages pose more challenges than supplements. "When buying a health food (with fiber), consumers still want to enjoy it, so the first challenge would be to make the fiber-rich food/beverage to taste as good as a product with no fiber," she said. Another concern is potential for over-consumption. "Consumers might over-consume a product—with the idea that it is healthy—and as a consequence, consume a high amount of fiber; so the type of fiber used should not have any limitations on consumption amount nor should it have side effects," she advised. The production process br ings additional of causing side ef fects such as bloating and gas. When it comes to supplements, she said consumers are more educated and know what they want, so they might choose to use a bulking fiber, such as psyllium, as a laxative to help fight constipation or choose a soluble fiber (e.g. acacia fiber and/or inulin) as a supplement to improve their overall health. Fiber Applications and Challenges Fiber has historically been tied to the bakery, cereal and bars category, but growth in the fiber market is in other areas. "Now we are seeing formulations that include fiber being requested in products ranging from beverages, such as enhanced waters and juice, to products within the dairy category, such as yogurt and ice cream," Arnold reported. "Many of our formulations that include fiber are targeting weight management, cardiovascular health and immunity." She reasoned consumers are increasingly taking the management of their personal health into their own hands and are recognizing the long-term benefit of cost savings, if they can avoid or delay the use of prescription drugs to address potential health issues. According to Yazbek, the bakery segment will still grow, but so will beverages. "There is a general growth on fiber content products mainly because of health benefits," she said, adding demand for natural and even organic fibers is following the natural and clean label trend. "We are expecting a growth of fiber-containing products in Canada because Health Canada recently has approved Fibregum, our brand of acacia gum, as a natural source of fiber." Fiber has done a 180-degree turn from the past, according to Sturm, who said fiber was one of those subjects that didn't come up in polite conversation, but is now a real part of a healthy diet. "New ingredients, such as chia, are garnering attention and opening up doors for including fiber in beverages and other products where there may previously have been organoleptic issues," she noted. "There continues to be growth in adding fiber to baked goods of all kinds in the food sector, as well as new prebiotic/probiotic combinations in the supplement aisle." Organoleptic issues are just one challenge in formulating with fiber. 40 INSIDER ¥ APRIL 2012 concerns. Yazbek argued the fiber should not negatively af fect the production process, noting acacia products can be easy to use. "The fiber should be stable to heat, shear and pH when required," she added. Depending on the product, hygroscopicity (readily taking up and retaining moisture) may be an issue and should also be considered when developing a product . "Some products, like the ones packaged in a canister, that are opened and closed several times or in single- dose sachets require a fiber that is not hygroscopic and one that wi ll taste good when consumed with water or mixed to a food." Beyond food and beverage applications, she said the pr imary challenge for supplements is offering a product that is easy to use, promotes a real health benefit and does not bring any side effect. Arnold stressed the impor tance of picking a fiber that is easily incorporated into the product wi thout impact ing its color, flavor, texture or stabil i ty. "Though most prebiotic fibers are stable, some break down when exposed to acidic conditions, such as fruit juices," she said. "The key is a case-by-case product assessment to ensure the prebiotic fiber remains functional after manufacturing and during storage." One unique challenge for prebiotic fibers is in combination formulas with probiotics. "Because probiotics are living organisms, much more care is required when formulat ing," Robinson said, noting a primary concern is water activity. "The probiotic supplement must remain dormant until taken, so anything, including prebiot ic fibers, added to the probiotic in a formulation must have low-water activity so the bacteria can't become active prematurely." He noted most probiotics also require refrigeration to protect and preserve the FIBER&PREBIOTICS

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