While synthetic and isolated fiber food ingredients are widely used by formulators, there are numerous whole food fibers that can provide an array of benefits. Sourced from grains, including barley, corn, oat and soy, these are minimally processed ingredients that are well recognized by consumers.

“In an environment where the emphasis is on simple, wholesome ingredients, corn bran is embraced by even the most label-savvy consumer,” said Keith Smith, regional technical service lead, Cargill. “Like all our dry corn ingredients, our corn bran products will appeal to consumers trying to avoid chemically processed ingredients. We use a mechanical means to fractionize and separate kernels into their three component parts: germ, starch and fiber (bran).”

Corn bran can help with sugar reduction. Cargill has been able to use its finely ground corn bran in combination with a few other ingredients to replace as much as 25% of the sugar in a nutrition bar. The resulting reduced-sugar bar also qualifies as an excellent source of fiber yet still meets customers’ expectations for taste and texture.

MGP Ingredients offers Non-GMO Project verified modified wheat starch. It functions as a fat replacer in select baked foods and, in others, imparts crispiness, said Ody Maningat, vice-president of ingredients, research and development, and chief science officer.

Related Reading“It’s very compatible with wheat-based products, providing a positive impact on taste, texture, aroma and volume of the finished product,” he said. “It’s process tolerant, is a convenient one-to-one partial flour replacement, and the added fiber ingredient is indistinguishable in finished baked products because of its invisible appearance.”

A number of whole food ingredient sources of fiber contribute flavor, color, texture and culinary appeal. Ardent Mills, for example, offers colored barleys — purple, blue and black — that provide a burst of color.

“Our proprietary, identity-preserved, hull-less barley delivers 3 times the fiber of oats and 10 times that of brown rice,” said Zachery Sanders, marketing director, Ardent Mills. “It is the highest fiber whole grain commercially available. It offers flexibility, functionality and special nutritional benefits for product developers who are formulating to meet health and wellness priorities.”

Don Trouba, senior director of go-to-market at Ardent Mills, said barley flakes add nice texture for a dense, filling snack bar that provides sustained energy.

“In cracked and flaked forms, grains can offer a toothy bite to any application, while at the same time delivering visual distinctiveness that many of today’s consumers find appealing,” he said. “Because they come from intact sources, fibers from grains can be tied back to the regions where the grains originated or to the particular growers who grew them. This is important in setting the backdrop for the ingredient story consumers are hungry for and marketers are happy to tell.”