UK smoothie market booming but missing essential fibres

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary fiber

The booming market for one-shot smoothies has been one of the
healthy foods success stories of recent years but the products are
not as nutritionally potent as they appear, according to an
ingredient supplier.

Lankananda Perera, managing director of German sweetener and fibre specialist, Herbafood Ingredients, says the fact smoothies are often full of fruit and vegetable concentrates rather than whole fruit juices, means their nutritional bounty is compromised, creating an opportunity for ingredients suppliers to provide a functional boost. "Most of the smoothie products in the market raise a claim to cover 50 per cent or 100 per cent of the daily requirements of fruits and vegetables,"​ Perera said. "Unfortunately most of these products are made from concentrates which lack components consumed generally with the peel of fruits and vegetables, specially dietary fibres."​ The company notes that the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Cancer Research Institute recommend at least 25g of dietary fibre (without lignin and resistant starch) per day. Another paper investigating cardiovascular diseases published by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found benefits in fruit and vegetable consumption as well as secondary plant compounds containing potassium and dietary fibre. But many products, such as smoothies, regular juices and even superfruit juices did not exactly do what they said on the tin, said Herbafood's sales and application manager, Dr Jürgen Fischer. "In case of dietary fibres, this means 6-10g related to 400g of fruit and vegetables as these contain on average approximately 1.5-2.5 per cent of dietary fibre (related to their fresh weight),"​ Fischer wrote in a paper entitled Dietary Fibre Made of Fruit and Vegetables​. He said food makers were pandering to convenience whilst overlooking efficacy. "The content substances of a large selection of fruit and vegetable are packed into one portion size,"​ he wrote. "Especially for dietary fibres this can be a problem. In order to manufacture such products food producers often resort to juice concentrates. The dietary fibres contained in fruits and vegetables and which are the high water binding cell wall material consisting mainly of a network of pectin, hemicelluloses and a cellulose structure, however, are removed largely during juice processing. In order to restore the original content the removed fruit or vegetable fibres have to be added again." ​ He continued: "Especially for beverages this results often in the problem of a too high viscosity. This applies all the more in dependence of the smallness of the offered portion, which is said to contain x per cent of the daily recommended amount of fruit and vegetable."

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