In recent years, fiber has been getting a lot of airtime in American media. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, fiber can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems and weight gain. High fiber diets have become a popular alternative to low-fat or low-calorie diets. Yet, in 2010, the US Department of Agriculture listed fiber as a ‘nutrient of concern.’ The recommended daily amount (RDA) of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men until age 50, at which point the RDA decreases to 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. But, the average american consumes a measly 15 grams of fiber per day.
Although 47 percent of consumers admit that they need to consume more fiber and nearly 90 percent of consumers believe that their digestive health is of top priority, most consumers are deterred due to the popular perception that fiber tastes bad. In order for the industry to tap into this unmet need, they will need to change the perception regarding fiber’s taste by educating consumers. Another challenge posed by fiber is its texture. when most consumers think of fiber in beverages, stir-in supplements often come to mind. These supplements, however, are insoluble. If beverage companies utilize soluble fiber options, their products will not have the same unbearable texture.
In recent years, there has been an increase consumer demand for ‘good for you’ beverages with a functional purpose, aside from quenching thirst. The beverage industry is well-poised to provide consumers with the additional fiber which is necessary for a healthy diet. Given regulatory and government pressure to improve product nutritional quality, most beverage companies are looking to make functional beverages with reduced sugar and calories. Between 2009-2010, 46.5 percent of all new juice drinks in the US made claims of fiber.
Common food ingredients to beverages, such as oats, quinoa, flax and chia seeds are concentrated with fiber. Fiber food ingredients include conventional, insoluble-type fibers, conventional, soluble-type fibers and novel type fibers. But, the market for fiber-enhanced foods has only just begun. Conventional insoluble fiber is the most widely used fiber ingredient, making up over 91 percent of all fiber ingredients. It has been estimated that insoluble fibers will decrease by 41 percent in 2014, as newly developed soluble types will begin to replace it as a fiber enhancing ingredient.
Fiber is often added to dairy products, such as milk, because its solubility pairs well with dairy. Although most people who get their fiber from beverages get it from dairy products, fruit and vegetable juices are a rising sector for fiber beverages. Most consumers know that fruits and vegetables have fiber, so they naturally turn to these products as a direct source of fiber. However, fruit juice naturally contains very little fiber. For this reason, beverage consultants at Power Brands suggest that beverage companies enrich fruit juices with fiber because its a natural fit for the product. This way, consumers in search of a fiber source will not only know where to look, but they will actually receive the intended benefits. Soluble fiber could also be added to functional water products, this way consumers not only get their fiber but they can also reach their required daily water intake.
For most consumers, the big question is where to get their daily fiber intake. Fiber is difficult to get in the modern diet, as most products are processed and are devoid of most of their fiber. Consumers are looking for an on-the-go source of fiber and, given that beverages are foods of convenience, there is a lot of room for growth in this sector of the market. As opposed to traditional sources of fiber like fruits and vegetables, fiber-fortified beverages are an easy, on-the-go source of the nutrient. Recent advances in technology have transformed what used to be an unpalatable addition to any beverage into an almost unnoticeable addition. Soluble fiber not only adds fiber content, but when paired with high-intensity sweeteners it can help to balance out the off-notes of the sweetener flavor profile.
While fiber-enriched drinks may be new to the market, it appears as though they are here to stay. Consumer’s diets lack fiber, and the beverage industry has the solution. Fiber-enriched beverages are an easy addition to any beverage company’s portfolio, especially given the increased demand for functional beverages.
Beverage Industry: http://www.bevindustry.com/articles/86823-getting-your-fill-of-fiber
Beverage Industry: http://www.bevindustry.com/articles/85395-consumers-tune-in-to-fiber