BioAgave active fiber is a plant-derived source of inulin that is said to support digestive health and provide "unique" functional benefits to food and beverage applications. The company claims it has a clean flavor profile, provides mouthfeel without viscocity, is highly soluble and is an excellent bulking agent. It is the latest addition to GTC's nutrition-based digestive health portfolio and the key markets for it are dairy, beverages and bakery. Coni Francis, senior manager of science, marketing and technical service, GTC, said: "It is naturally occurring and it can help to maintain and improve digestive health. "In the decade of the 90s it was all about removing things like fat, sugar and for a period carbs. "Now consumers are interested in doing more so they are eating more of a food component or type of food and beverage in order to increase health. "The thing that makes this so unique is there is not going to be additional browning that is unwanted in food, and it works very well as a bulking agent, which is important when reducing calories." Fiber intake GTC believes that BioAgave will be of particular interest to food and beverage manufacturers because many consumers fail to eat enough fiber. It said that the Insititute of Medicine recommends between 28-35 grams of fiber per day for adults in the US, but most consumers only eat about 14 to 15 grams per day. The first example of a product on the market with BioAgave in it is an energy bar called PlusVita, which has already been launched in Mexico. GTC now plans to market the BioAgave as a wellness solution, focusing initially on the North America market and Mexico. It is also working on organic certification for BioAgave. John Saucier, vice president, global business and product development at GTC, said: "We have come up with what we think is quite a novel ingredient for the market. "We are going to focus on this area for some time to come." Inulin BioAgave is derived from the Blue Weber agave plant in Mexico and contains 90 percent inulin. The fiber is most commonly used as a fat and sugar replacer, and has increasingly been linked to gut health benefits, due to its action as a prebiotic to promote the growth of beneficial intestinal microflora populations. But an increasing body of science is emerging linking the ingredients to help control blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, boost bone strength, and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. There have even been reports that inulin may play a role in immune health and weight control. Prebiotic fibre specialist Beneo-Orafti claims to have played a major hand in developing the prebiotic market as a pioneer in inulin, which it derives from chicory root. Digestive health North America was the fastest growing market last year for foods and beverages targeting digestive health, according Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD), which recorded 136 new products launched in the category. Agave has been grown in Mexico for thousands of years, and tequila is distilled from the sap in their hearts. Agave nectar, along with Stevia, is considered among the brightest prospects as an alternative to more established high-intensity sweeteners.