Novel fibers to grow 750% as consumers seek fiber-rich foods

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary fiber

The use of novel fibers in food products is set to sky-rocket over the next few years, with growth of 750 percent predicted, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.

Consumer interest in dietary fiber has been growing with scientific studies linking increased intake to reduced risks of cancers such as colorectal and cardiovascular disease, digestive health benefits and weight management.

A 2008 International Food Information Council survey found 77 percent of people are proactively trying to consume additional fiber.

Despite such good intentions, however, many Americans only achieve about 50 percent of their recommended amount of 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily.

And such stats are driving the introduction of new fiber-fortified food and beverage products, according to a new report Fiber Food Ingredients in the U.S.: Soluble-, Insoluble- and Digestive-Resistant Types​ by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

While interest in all types of fibers – insoluble and soluble – is expected to increase, the biggest growth is expected for so-called novel fibers. Packaged Facts defined novel fiber as “one that has not historically been viewed as a fiber food ingredient. This includes, but is not limited to inulin, FOS, GOS, resistant maltodextrin and soluble corn fiber.”

“Packaged Facts determined that sales of all fiber food ingredients (i.e., conventional, insoluble-type fibers; conventional, soluble-type fibers; and novel fiber food ingredients) will continue to increase indefinitely, as the market for fiber-enhanced foods is still in its infancy,” ​said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

“There is a great deal of room for growth across almost all food categories, which presents an opportunity for the many different fiber ingredients that are among the most popular with today’s food formulators,” ​added Montouri.

Novel growth

The market researcher is predicting a significant growth for these novel fibers, with the category predicted to increase its share of the market by more than 750 percent, jumping 35 percentage points from an almost 5 percent share in 2004 to a 39 percent share in 2014.

Packaged Facts estimates that in 2004, 91 percent of all fiber food ingredient sales were of conventional, insoluble-type fibers, which contains cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin and cannot be dissolved in water.

The remaining 9 percent share was split evenly between conventional, soluble-type fibers and emerging, novel fibers. The market researcher projects that insoluble fibers will decrease to 53.3 percent by 2014, while the share for the mostly new or newly refined conventional, soluble-type fibers will decrease slightly to 7.4 percent.

Soluble versus insoluble

Studies have also reported that insoluble fiber may reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes, but the biological mechanism underlying the benefits has only been assumed.

The assumption was that the fiber reduced the glycemic response (a rise in blood glucose), thereby increasing satiety and decreasing energy intake. A lower glycemic response decreases the demand for insulin, therefore reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

In Europe and Japan, soluble fiber has the greater market share than insoluble. In the US, where the entire fiber market was worth $192.8m (€151.0m) in 2004, insoluble fiber dominates the market with $176.2m (€138.0m), and $16.6m (€13.0m) soluble.

But while Frost and Sullivan predicts overall growth in the US to $470m (€369m) 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.

The arrival of multinationals

Data from Datamonitor in 2009 indicated that food manufacturers are increasingly adding fiber to their products, in a move described as going “back to basics”.

The market researcher said fiber has become an ingredient of choice for products targeting health conscious consumers and products designed to help combat obesity.

Based on data from its Product Launch Analytics, which tracks new products entering the global marketplace, Datamonitor said the percentage of new food products launched in the US that claim to be high in fiber hit 6.3 percent in 2008, up from 5.2 percent in 2006.

“Consumers have long known that fiber is ‘good for you.’ Now food makers are redoubling their efforts to increase the fiber content of many popular food products,”​ said Datamonitor.

Companies that have launched products touting their fiber content include the multinationals PepsiCo, Kraft, Campbell Soup, Kellogg and Dannon.

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