Fiber fortification is nothing new. Kellogg’s alleges to have launched the first high-fiber cereal as early as 1915. By the mid-1980s, Fiber One landed on shelves and, today, that brand alone boasts more than 50 products in several food categories, along with myriad other players that have come on the scene to offer a range of snacks, cereals, beverages and other products offering fiber content for just about any consumer.
Despite this, most Americans still aren’t getting enough fiber. According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, kids and adults need at least 20 to 30 g of fiber per day for good health, and most Americans are only getting about 15 g daily. A variety of factors are at play, from simply not eating enough fruits and vegetables to the rise of low-carb diets like keto, Atkins and Whole 30, which can inadvertently decrease fiber consumption.
The good news is that, with increased emphasis on gut health and a robust microbiome, demand is higher than ever for fiber-enriched products. Food & Beverage Insider spoke with experts from General Mills and Nature’s Bakery to find out where the trends are today and where they’re going tomorrow.
Food & Beverage Insider: Fiber has a long history as a functional ingredient in the food industry. Is it still as in-demand as other functional ingredients that have entered the spotlight since?
Karly White, senior brand manager of nutrition snacks, General Mills: Fiber is absolutely a sought-after benefit. In general, fiber has long been seen as a way to support digestive health, regularity and overall well-being. It has also been viewed as a tool to help with weight management, managing blood sugar and supporting heart health. Recent research from the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC)2020 Food & Health Survey shows that fiber is generally perceived as healthful and something consumers are seeking. Additionally, fiber is indicated by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a nutrient most people are not getting enough of.
Pilar Arellano, marketing director, Nature's Bakery: Consumers continue to look for nutritious snacks that help them lead better lives, and are more aware of the link between having a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body. Fiber offers consumers several benefits that support their overall health, such as aiding in digestion. With most fruits being an excellent source of fiber, we continue to see this increase in demand of high-fiber snacks from consumers. Oats and oatmeal also provide a great source of fiber and added health benefits, like improving heart health.
To read the article “Top brands discuss keeping fiber fresh and trending” in its entirety, including an additional interviewee from Kodiak Cakes, check out the “Gut check: Fiber fuels innovation” digital magazine.
Melissa Kvidahl Reilly is a freelance writer and editor with 10 years of experience covering news and trends in the natural, organic and supplement markets. She lives and works in New Jersey.