Already Hi-maize, which has been linked to improving gut health, can be found in everyday foods such as Sainsbury's bread, Vogel's cereals and Trek Bars. National Starch Food Innovation is now making the ingredient available to consumers directly, a move that suggests consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of fibre in their diet and less dependant on a high in fibre finished food product. This move is not the first time a branded ingredient has been sold to the consumer. Earlier this year DSM Food Specialities' satiety ingredient Fabuless was launched to consumers as a dietary supplement under the name SlimThru. Although in this case the new product came with a name change. This indicated that consumers have a strong enough awareness of satiety to self-administer a useful supplement. Hi-maize is unlike most other starches, which are digested and absorbed into the body through the small intestine. Resistant types pass through to the large intestine where they act like dietary fibre and improve digestive efficiency by promoting the growth of bacteria, including butyrate. Butyrate can help to control the growth and overall metabolic activity of the colonic cells, and contribute towards an improved intestinal health and consequently a reduced risk of digestive disorders. National Starch Food Innovation, working together with German food supplement producer SternLife, has launched the product in "homepacks" which can be bought over the internet. The firm was unavailable to confirm whether the homepacks will become available in retail shops. The new Hi-maize homepack enable consumers to easily and conveniently increase their fibre intake. The packs currently retail in two quantities, 250g and 500g and can be added to a variety of home cooked meals. SternLife specialises in the research, manufacture and retail of food supplements and functional foods. Sales and marketing manager Heiko Gevert said: "In addition to the proven health benefits offered by Hi-maize, the advantage of the retail packs is their flexibility and ease of application." National Starch Food Innovation business development manager Pauline Taggart said: "Factors such as availability of healthy choices for hectic lifestyles and taste preferences mean that incorporating fibre into our diets can be a challenge. "The Hi-maize homepack offers consumers a means of managing their specific fibre needs. Equally, manufacturers can develop foods that contain Hi-maize for convenient prepared options." Prebiotic ingredients, or those that boost the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut, are worth about €90 million in the European marketplace but are forecast to reach €179.7 million by 2010, according to Frost & Sullivan.