As consumers seek more fiber, inulin takes center stage – article

Demand for fiber is growing, as are the fiber ingredient options available to product developers. Inulin, with its prebiotic benefits, can be an ideal choice.

May 15, 2024

4 Min Read
As consumers seek more fiber, inulin takes center stage

Walking down any grocery store aisle, one quickly sees that fiber is having its moment. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, cereal and supplement brands promoted it as a way to stay regular. Today, consumer awareness has expanded and evolved as research links a high-fiber diet to a wide variety of health benefits.

Yet, more than 90% of women and 97% of men are still not getting enough, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. But this may be changing. More than half of consumers are interested in fiber as a functional food and beverage ingredient, according to Innova.1 In addition, 31% of consumers increased their fiber consumption in the past 12 months. Fiber is viewed as the top ingredient and nutrient associated with gut health, Innova notes.

Growing demand for inulin

As demand for fiber grows, so do the high-fiber ingredient options available. One stand-out ingredient is inulin, recognized for its prebiotic benefits. According to Innova, inulin is among the fastest-growing prebiotic ingredients.2

Inulin is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested or absorbed, instead feeding good bacteria in the gut. Other potential benefits of inulin include supporting healthy weight, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, regulating lipid metabolism, and [KB1] inhibiting the expression of inflammatory factors, enhancing mineral absorption and improving constipation, according to Food & Function.3

“As consumers increasingly experience the benefits of prebiotics for gut and overall health, they will look for products with ingredients like inulin to help them achieve a healthful diet," said Tonya Lofgren, product manager for CIRANDA, the premiere North American provider of certified organic, non‐GMO and fair trade food ingredients.

Grand View Research, a market research firm, reports that the prebiotics market is projected to grow about 15% annually from 2022 to 2030. Younger generations are most interested in prebiotics.4 Part of this growth is attributed to concerns about sugar-related health impacts and gut health. Growth is also credited to prebiotics' broad applications in food and beverage for texture enhancement and sweetening.

"We are seeing more product developers looking to formulate products with inulin," said Lofgren. "Inulin is an outstanding choice for clean-label products, in part because it is naturally occurring."

To meet increasing demand, CIRANDA offers two distinct inulin products. Produced from the blue agave plant, they include Organic Blue Agave Inulin and Organic Agave Syrup IN10. They are both non-GMO and kosher.

Organic Blue Agave Inulin

CIRANDA'S Organic Blue Agave Inulin is a prebiotic dietary fiber extracted from the agave tequilana plant — a plant that naturally contains a high concentration of inulin fructans. It is an odorless, clean tasting, mildly sweet white powder that is highly soluble in liquid. It can be used in applications such as granola bars, frozen desserts and nutritional beverage powders.

Agave inulin has natural water-absorption properties. It is an excellent alternative to other commercial inulin sources, such as chicory. Compared to inulin from chicory, agave inulin has more branched chains versus straight chains, which helps improve solubility in liquids. It acts as a fat mimetic to improve the texture and mouthfeel in reduced sugar or reduced fat applications such as ice cream or yogurt.

CIRANDA'S Agave Syrup IN10

Organic Agave Syrup IN10 is a light amber syrup produced from the blue agave plant in which 10% of the solids are retained as prebiotic inulin fiber. It has similar sweetness, functionality and solids content compared to CIRANDA'S standard organic agave syrup, but 9% less sugar and 8% fewer calories. It can be used as a 1:1 replacement in a wide variety of applications such as bars, cereals, beverages, frozen desserts, snacks and gummy supplements, among others.

"CIRANDA looks forward to helping more product developers offer the functional health benefits of inulin," said Lofgren. "These ingredient options deliver taste and texture, while also satisfying the health-conscious consumer's desire for more fiber and reduced-sugar options."

1. Innova's 2023 Briefing Series, "Good for the Gut: Fiber-Friendly Claims Rise in Snack Foods Globally"

2. Innova Market Insights' 2024 Ingredient Insider, "Now & Next for Fiber & Prebiotic - US"

3. "Inulin: properties and health benefits," Food & Function, April 7, 2023

4. Innova Market Insights' 2024 Ingredient Insider, "Now & Next for Fiber & Prebiotic - US"

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