Adding more fiber

For snacks and many other applications, Beneo offers inulin ingredients that are soluble dietary fibers from chicory root. They are invisible and have no off-taste and no effect on color, said Andy Estal, technical manager for Beneo.

“They will pretty much go into a formulation and disappear,” he said. “They are very easy to formulate with.”

Calories per gram of inulin and oligofructose (a subset of inulin) range from 1.2 to 1.5 grams, which compares to 4 calories per gram for sugar, Mr. Estal said. Adding inulin to a product may allow it to achieve a claim of either “good source of fiber” at 2.5 grams per serving or “excellent source of fiber” at 5 grams per serving.

“Because chicory root is a soluble fiber, you really don’t notice its presence in things,” said Carol Lowry, a senior food scientist for Cargill, which offers Oliggo-Fiber chicory root inulin. “So it’s very easy to add up to 5 grams of fiber.”

Inulin, like several other forms of fiber, is fermented in the gut.

“Every individual person has a different tolerance level for dietary fiber,” Mr. Estal said. “Basically, it depends on what your diet is. If you eat a lot of fiber all the time, your body is very efficient at the fermentation process and very efficient at getting rid of the excess gas.”

Litesse polydextrose, a soluble dietary fiber, is 1 calorie per gram and has a neutral flavor profile, said Ramón Espinoza, product specialist for DuPont Nutrition & Health in New Century, Kas. The amount of fiber that Litesse may add to a product varies, he said.

“It really depends on what the end goal of your formulation might be — a certain percentage of sugar reduction, a fiber claim, etc.,” Mr. Espinoza said. “You may want a low-calorie product with a fiber source claim or you may want a reduced sugar product. The beauty of polydextrose is that you can do both.”