Fiber steps up in new product development
BakingBusiness.com, June 1, 2012
by Jeff Gelski
The grain-based foods industry in recent years has promoted new products for such benefits as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, but fiber, long an ally, remains generally a winning option. The number of new product launches promoted for fiber content apparently has risen lately.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, companies launched 110 bakery products with a “high/added fiber” claim in the United States in 2011, which was up from 34 such products in 2010 and 22 in 2009. For breakfast cereals, new product launches with a “high/added fiber” claim reached 121 in 2011, which compared with 54 in 2010 and 11 in 2009.

Consumers are looking for fiber claims on products, too. According to the 2012 Food & Health Survey released May 23 by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 56% of respondents said they tried to consume a certain amount of fiber or as much as possible, which trailed only whole grains at 57%. Fiber had a higher percentage than such benefits as calcium (40%), omega-3 fatty acids (25%) and probiotics (14%). Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Washington, conducted the survey by contacting 1,057 Americans between the ages of 18-80 from April 3 to April 13.

The surge of new product launches containing fiber has continued in 2012 as well.

The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., on March 20 launched Kellogg’s Special K granola bars in the flavors of dark chocolate and chocolately peanut butter. Each bar contains 4 grams of fiber. Soluble corn fiber, rolled oats, soluble wheat fiber and chicory root fiber are some of the fiber sources on the ingredient list.

General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, on April 23 introduced a chocolate chip flavor variety of Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies with 5 grams of fiber. Chicory root extract and sugarcane fiber are some of the fiber sources on the ingredient list. The Fiber One brand appears ready to expand geographically.

“In Canada, we’re seeing terrific growth from Fiber One Bars,” said Don Mulligan, executive vice-president and chief financial officer of General Mills, on May 15 at the Barclays Capital America Select Franchise Conference in London. “Year to date, sales have increased at a double-digit rate. Since we’re still in the early stages of expanding our core product offerings into international markets, we see great growth opportunities as we move forward.”

On April 24, Luna, Emeryville, Calif., introduced Luna Fiber, a snack that has 7 grams of fiber and also contains calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamin D. Sources of fiber include inulin, organic oats and organic barley.

Some ingredients with fiber also may fit in gluten-free applications. Jennifer Williams, senior applications scientist for Penford Food Ingredients, Centennial, Colo., listed buckwheat, chiaseed, rice bran, inulin, flaxseed and resistant starch as such ingredients when she spoke March 5 at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2012 in Chicago. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, there were 1,968 new products labeled gluten-free in 2011, which was up from 1,936 in 2010.

Whole grain awareness also con-tinues to grow. According to the Boston-based Whole Grains Council, its Whole Grain Stamp as of May was on more than 7,100 different products in 35 countries.

New product launches with healthier fats and oils might be on the way. Companies are experimenting with Plenish high-oleic soybean oil from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a business unit of DuPont and based in Des Moines, Iowa. Plenish offers more than 75% oleic content for functional stability, and it has 20% less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil.

St. Louis-based Monsanto has made progress with Vistive Gold high-oleic soybean oil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December 2011 deregulated the biotech trait, MON 87705, in Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans, which produce soybean oil with increased levels of monounsaturated fat. Vistive Gold soybean oil has oleic content of 75%, and it has 60% less saturated fat than conventional soybean oil.