According to Frost and Sullivan, the entire fiber market in the US was worth $192.8m in 2004, $176.2m of which is insoluble fiber and $16.6m soluble.
But while Frost and Sullivan predicts overall growth to $470m by 2011, the soluble fiber sector is expected to increase by almost twice the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) compared to insoluble fiber - 26.3 percent compared to 13.1 percent.
Despite these impressive sales figures, many Americans are falling well short of the 32 grams of fiber recommended by the National Fiber Council. According to a survey by Columbia University, the average intake was about 12.5 grams a day.
The new product from P&G may help Americans increase their fiber intake. Derived from chicory root, it is said to be a tasteless, non-thickening, readily water-soluble powder. A heaped teaspoon provides 20 per cent of the daily requirement of fiber.
These properties, says P&G, mean that Fibersure can be used in a wide range of cooking methods, including sautéing, stir frying, and in soups and salad dressings.
"In developing Fibersure, we looked closely at how consumers live their daily lives and what goes into creating and maintaining a healthy diet," said Crystal Harrell, P&G Health Sciences.
"It was important for us to provide a fiber supplement that met the needs health-conscious consumers are looking for in a way that could be easily incorporated into everyday cooking."
The company already has the number one doctor-recommended fiber brand on the market with its Metamucil range, available in capsules, wafers and drink powder forms.
The versatility of Fibersure, however, makes the supplement a complementary product to Metamucil.
P&G's Velvet Gogol Bennett told NutraIngredients-USA.com: "Both Fibersure and Metamucil are great options for helping Americans incorporate more fiber in their daily diets. And, in fact, they are great complements to each other."
The company was unwilling to give sales projections for the product, but Gogol Bennet said that test market results indicated a strong consumer acceptance for Fibersure.
"Making up that difference can be challenging, and incorporating a fiber supplement into your routine can be a huge help. With the introduction of Fibersure, consumers now have even more ways to increase their daily fiber intake," she said.
The product is available in most grocery, drug and mass merchandise stores, with a recommended retail price of $8.99 for a seven-ounce package and $13.99 for a 11.7 ounce package.