New year, same problem — satisfying hunger without putting on the pounds. For many consumers the challenge of curbing cravings is a daily battle, but thanks to innovations in everything from technology to ingredients the process is becoming easier.

The increasing attention being paid to satiety is evident in major changes undertaken recently by two of the world’s largest weight management companies: Jenny Craig, Inc. and Weight Watchers International, Inc.

For New York-based Weight Watchers, the changes included an update to its Points system, which is featured on the labels of some food and beverage products. The new system, PointsPlus, considers calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber and is designed to help consumers make choices that favor foods that cause the body to work harder to convert into energy, focuses on foods that create a sense of fullness and satisfaction and are more healthful and encourages consumers to choose natural foods rather than foods with excess added sugars and fats. For example, the program will highlight lean protein foods, including nonfat dairy products, and whole grain foods high in fiber, showing participants how to feel full longer.

Meanwhile, Jenny Craig, Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., tapped its technology side with a program that allows participants to log menus into a BodyMedia FIT Activity Manager. Doing so allows individuals to measure caloric intake and metabolic rate throughout the day.

“Achieving weight loss goals requires more than a diet; it requires a comprehensive food-body-mind approach that leads to lifestyle changes,” said Patti Larchet, chief executive officer of Jenny Craig, Inc., which is owned by Nestle S.A.

Satiety among top trends for ‘11

The Calorie Control Council, Atlanta, has identified “light” products as a top 5 trend to watch in dieting and weight loss in 2011.

“The development of foods and beverages that provide satiety, or hunger satisfaction, is projected to be one of the hottest trends in weight management in the coming years,” the C.C.C. said.

Salba Smart Natural Products, L.L.C., Denver, recently introduced organic premium ground salba and organic whole seed salba. According to the company, one tablespoon (12 grams) serving of the whole grain seed provides 4.1 grams of dietary fiber “to increase satiety and reduce hunger, and a heart healthy dose of 2,700 mg of omega-3s.” Salba Smart currently uses salba in tortilla chips, salsa, pretzels, potato crisps and tortillas, and plans to introduce an organic oatmeal, all natural bars and multi-grain chips featuring salba as well.

Oatmeal has a high satiety value due to the soluble fiber in its whole grain oats, and several companies have launched new products recently. McDonald’s Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., has introduced new Fruit & Maple Oatmeal nationally, while PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, N.Y., extended its Quaker line last fall with the launch of Quaker Heart Medleys instant multigrain hot cereal.

Ingredient innovations on the rise

Satiety also is top of mind for ingredient companies, both in the United States and abroad. In Europe, the October publication of opinions regarding health claims by the European Food Safety Authority is expected to play into decision-making in 2011, said Anke Sentko, vice-president of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at Beneo GmbH, Obrigheim, Germany.

“Any items with the seal of approval from E.F.S.A. look set to have the competitive advantage in 2011,” Ms. Sentko said. “For those without E.F.S.A. signoff, the market will see a move toward the clever reformulation of products to promote nutrient content claims. Combined with consumer demand for weight management products, there will be an increased focus on the

caloric value and physiological properties of food and beverage products in 2011, and this will mean the rise of sugar replacers and dietary fibers. This will be further driven by the increasing tension between whether we, as an industry, should be countering obesity or catering to it, and the fact that those who have ingredients such as sugar replacers, which can do both, will be increasingly sought after in the coming year. In addition, fiber could make a comeback in popularity, as consumers continue to link this with feeling fuller for longer.”

Another company that hopes to make a mark in ingredients for satiety is FrieslandCampina Domo, a division of the Ingredients Business Group of Royal FrieslandCampina BV in The Netherlands. The company has developed Vivinal GOS, a dairy-derived prebiotic oligosaccharide that has been shown to induce an increase in blood levels of the satiety hormone, PYY, in animal studies. The studies also showed an observed decrease in caloric intake by the test animals, as well as a reduction in abdominal fat, said Sarah Staley, vice-president of business development for FrieslandCampina Domo.

“While these studies are yet to be validated in human clinical trials, they are indicative of the potential for ingredients like Vivinal GOS to contribute to decreased caloric intake, decreased weight gain, and overall health and wellness,” Ms. Staley said.