Digestive Health – The New Wellness Power for Consumers

13 Apr 2016

Digestive health has been on the agenda for years. However, now thanks to the convergence of a series of lifestyle and market trends, digestive health has moved from being a medically-driven topic to a wellness-driven one in a growing number of consumers’ minds. Katrien Lambeens, Product Manager Functional Fibres at BENEO discusses why digestive health is of such interest to these health-focused consumers, how legislation supports digestive health products across Europe and where producers can make the most impact when it comes to application.

Consumer focus on digestive health

Digestive health is a secret driver behind many of 2016’s key trends, including ’free-from’ and ‘naturally functional’. Julian Mellentin comments: “It’s often overlooked how much consumers’ interest in good digestive health powers many other trends….. Digestive health is a benefit with wide appeal. For women throughout their reproductive life and also men from age 40, maintaining good digestive health is an everyday wellness issue. There is a particularly strong interest in digestive health among seniors.” This viewpoint is supported by recent BENEO consumer research, which shows that 69% of consumers find a healthy digestive system an important topic and Mintel research that shows that between 2013 and 2015, 16% of functional claims globally were about digestive health, making it one of the most important functional claims. Data from Euromonitor also supports this commercially, showing that the respective market was worth 70 billion US$ globally in 2015, with Western Europe having a value of 15.3 billion US$.

One of the reasons for digestive health’s move from the side-lines to the mainstream is that it is intrinsically linked with wellness in consumers’ minds. BENEO consumer research has confirmed this with the findings that nearly 3 out of 4 consumers eat digestive health products to improve their regularity as well as their overall wellbeing. With one of Mintel’s 12 key food and drink trends for 2016 being reported as “From the inside out”, it is clear that consumer understanding of the impact diets have on the way they look and feel is increasing. Personal wellness, driven by diet, will see products that promote digestive health continue to gain in popularity throughout the years and opens up lucrative opportunities for those manufacturers willing to tailor existing products, or to develop new ones.

How legislation is supporting digestive health products
In recent years, Europe has become a very difficult arena for producers looking to tap into the consumer’s desire for food and drink products that promote overall wellness and have additional health benefits.

Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at BENEO recently commented: “A body of scientific work behind functional ingredients is being built. In my opinion, the relationship between industry and the regulatory body EFSA is warming, now that there is greater clarity around health claim dossier submissions. There has been a learning process on both sides and we can expect to see more successful claim submissions and positive stories from manufacturers who base their businesses on sound science, such as BENEO.”

With the latest exclusive 13.5 health claim approval for BENEO’s chicory root fibre inulin improving digestive healthvii, manufacturers are now able to build nutritional functionality into their products and importantly, communicate these benefits to the consumer. The official wording for the claim is: “chicory inulin contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency ”. In addition to the authorised 13.5 proprietary health claim, general health-related wellbeing claims under article 10.3 of the EU Nutrition and Health Claim Regulation are also possible. Amongst others, these may include wording such as: “chicory inulin promotes digestive health” or “chicory root fibre supports a healthy and balanced digestive system”.

Manufacturers can now make the most of the growing trends for digestive health and overall wellness, by working with carefully selected ingredients and their producers. BENEO has many years of expertise in developing new product concepts that combine a strong scientific basis and real market appeal. Through the recently authorised EU 13.5 health claim and the solid scientific basis that comes with it, BENEO enables food and beverage manufacturers to promote digestive health benefits to their consumers.

Chicory root fibre on trend for “all things natural”
Chicory root fibres have been intensively researched over the past 20 years. High quality nutrition research has created a firm foundation for today’s nutrition and health claims. Inulin and oligofructose are ingredients made by nature and are obtained via a gentle hot water extraction method from chicory root. These chicory root dietary fibres differ significantly from man-made resistant starches or dextrins like so-called “soluble corn fibre” or “soluble gluco fibre”. The latter are synthesized by treating starch or glucose syrup and changing their molecular structure in such a way that they become, to a certain extent, non-digestible to human enzymes in the small intestine. With consumer focus moving towards ‘all things natural’, inulin and oligofructose are ‘on trend’ for providing digestive health, naturally. Inulin and oligofructose are also proven prebiotics (there are only a few fibres that are currently confirmed as such by academia).

One of the ways chicory root fibres contribute to our wellbeing, inner resistance and health is by promoting a regular and balanced digestive system. They are fully fermented in the large intestine and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are formed by the selective fermentation through beneficial colon microbiota. SCFAs are known to have a stimulating effect on bowel movements (improving the number of bowel movements per week, without triggering diarrhoea). Non-fermentable fibres (such as wholegrains) are merely effective for stool bulking, i.e. passing through the body unaltered. In addition, due to the growth of the colon microbiota, prebiotic fermentation of chicory root fibres stimulates bowel movements in a mild and natural manner.

As soluble fibre with a mild sweetness, inulin and oligofructose can be easily integrated into various applications while supporting excellent taste and texture. In terms of versatility and product variants for a multitude of technical applications, the BENEO range of chicory root fibres is unrivalled in the realm of soluble fibres. BENEO’s Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose are ideal solutions for sugar or fat reduction, as well as for fibre enrichment.

Where producers can make the most impact
Globally, the leading category for digestive health products in 2015 was unsurprisingly dairy (worth 29.6 billion US$) and the second largest was baked goods (worth 25 billion US$). Looking at the European market, the most important category however was baked goods, worth 9.4 billion US$ in 2015 . The next largest in Europe was breakfast cereals at 2.5 billion US$ . It is predicted that digestive health focused baked good products will continue to grow by 4% CAGR between 2015-2020 and digestive health focused breakfast cereals by almost 1.5% CAGR in the same time frame.

These findings highlight the fact that baked goods and cereals products for digestive health are performing well. They are also a strong indicator of areas that are likely to be a success for digestive health focused product reformulations, or new product concepts.

Breakfast benefits
With digestive health focused baked goods and cereals both predicted to grow over the coming years, it seems appropriate that meal occasions such as breakfast will be a key digestive health focus. According to recent research , 62% of UK and Spanish consumers consider breakfast as the main occasion to support their digestive health during the day. Additional earlier research showed that more than two thirds of respondents (67%) in Europe saw the benefit of fibre enrichment linked to breakfast cereals and bread, whilst 61% liked the idea of it being linked to cereal bars. In addition, more than half of survey respondents (53%) found the idea of fibre enrichment in yoghurt products appealing or very appealing .

New product development by the BENEO-Technology Center demonstrates it is now possible to bring digestive health into the breakfast mix via a range of products. Such reformulations deliver in terms of nutritional benefits, without short-changing the consumer in terms of taste and texture. Examples that can carry BENEO’s exclusive digestive health claim include a sugar-reduced, high fibre cereal bar and a sugar-reduced, fibre-enriched fruit yoghurt containing BENEO’s prebiotic fibre inulin (see recipes below).

Baked goods in general
More general snacking occasions can also be supported with reformulated products that promote digestive health. BENEO’s prebiotic fibre inulin and specialty rice ingredients can be used to help create savoury snacks such as high fibre, wholegrain savoury crackers, or for those with a sweeter tooth, high fibre French Madeleine sponge cakes.

Thanks to experts such as those at the BENEO-Technology Center, food producers can now maximise the benefits of the latest digestive health ingredients in a wide range of breakfast products and other baked goods. In addition, due to the work done by the BENEO-Institute, more on pack claims can now be made in Europe than ever before.

Digestive Health – The New Wellness Power for Consumers


PRODUCT RECIPES:
High fibre, sugar-reduced cereal bars: By using BENEO’s inulin from chicory root, Orafti® HSI, these bars can now be claimed as digestive health bars. They have the same texture and sensorial mouthfeel as a full sugar equivalent and one serving size of 45 grams contains 3.6 g Orafti® HSI.

Please open the pdf for more information on the recipes: Digestive Health Recicpes
For further information on BENEO and its ingredients, please visit: www.beneo.com and www.beneonews.com or follow BENEO on Twitter: @_BENEO or LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/beneo

BENEO offers functional ingredients derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat. BENEO is the ideal partner to help improve a product in its nutritional and technological characteristics. Key nutritional benefits are ‘less fat’, ‘less sugar’, ‘less calories’, ‘added fibre’, ‘gluten-free’ and dairy alternatives as well as energy management, digestive, bone and dental health. Key technological benefits focus on taste and texture improvements. Through a unique chain of expertise, including the BENEO-Institute that provides decisive insights into nutrition science and legislation, and the BENEO-Technology Center that consults in application technology, BENEO actively supports customers in the development of more balanced and healthy food products.

BENEO is a division of the Südzucker Group, employs almost 900 people and has production units in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.
www.BENEO.com

For further press information, please contact:
Jo Kent at Publicasity
Tel: +44 (0)203 757 6811
Email: [email protected]

For further information please contact:
Claudia Meissner, BENEO
Maximilianstraße 10, 68165 Mannheim, Germany
Phone: +49 621 421-148
Fax: +49 621 421-160
Email: [email protected]

Source: http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2015-11/view_features/key-trends-in-functional-foods-beverages-for-2016#sthash.2broUOKx.dpuf
Source: BENEO Consumer digestive health research 2015
Source: Mintel GNPD 2015
Source: Euromonitor International, digestive health survey 2015
Source: BENEO Consumer digestive health research 2015
Source: Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends 2016, www.mintel.com
Source: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015R2314&qid=1450113112441&from=EN
Note: The bowel regularity health claim in the EU only applies to healthy adults consuming 12g of selected BENEO Orafti® ingredients per day, which may be divided into portions taken during the day. However, the amount of chicory root fibres that will be effective, by providing a moderate increase in the weekly number of stools produced with less difficulty, will vary from one person to another. Improved bowel regularity was found at intake levels as low as 3g of inulin a day in patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Reference: Isakov, V.; Pilipenko, V.; Shakhovskaya, A.; Tutelyan, V. (2013): Effect of inulin enriched yogurt on bowel habits in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation: a pilot study. In: FASEB J 27; Ib426.
Source: Euromonitor International, digestive health survey 2015
Source: BENEO Consumer digestive health research 2015
Source: BENEO Fibre Research 2012/13

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