The consumer is becoming extremely conscious of a need to improve heart health, reduce weight and generally lead a better lifestyle. However, regular meal times are difficult to manage for those with extremely busy lifestyles. Snacking has taken on the role of filling the food gap for those who need to eat on the go, between meetings or even during them. Apparently, 61% of consumers also claim to eat snacks which ‘tide them over between meals’ and many of this number have bought into the concept of healthy fibre.
Fibre is one of the healthy options for snacks like crisps, popcorn, muffins, biscuits etc. for the health conscious consumer. In fact it was one of the trends identified by FoodWrite in 2013 and 2014 and will continue to grow throughout 2015. In fact fibre lends itself exceptionally well to such products. It allows for claims on satiety, weight management and as an aid to digestion.
The consumer is beginning to understand that the nutritional benefits of fibre can be best incorporated into the daily diet and snacks which are an exciting and varied addition to the diet are readily and easily consumed.
What Fibres are available For Snacks ?
Fibersol® digestion-resistant maltodextrin from ADM/Matsutani LLC, Decatur, Ill. (www.fibersol.com) is a soluble corn fibre which this author has tried in bar formulations. It is prepared as a spray-dried powder which is produced by a proprietary method of controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of the corn starch. It lends itself well to cookies, confectionary, crisps and crackers where it functions mainly as a low-calorie bulking agent. It can also survive the frying process. It adds crispiness to baked goods such as crisps but also delays staling in muffins for example which helps improve and extend shelf-life. The manufacturers claim it can be used to replace sugar and calories in these products too. There are no direct claims for this product but it is 90% dietary fibre which can be use for general claims work. The numerous starch linkages in the fibre mean that they remain undigested by enzymes in the human digestive tract. The fibre can operate as a prebiotic in the intestine and promote laxation. In keeping with fibre claims generally it has been shown to help maintain intestinal regularity but will not create the objectionable gas or gastric intestinal discomfort associated with other fibres.
Cargill offer a chicory root fibre based on inulin called Oliggo-Fiber® which has a prebiotic function that stimulates healthy bacteria to grow in the intestine. It has been tested in fruit and bar products.
Glanbia Nutritionals showcased their Probiotic Greek Yoghurt Chia Bar at the 2014 IFT Food Expo. The functional protein ingredient was OptiSol 2000 which acts as a binding agent but also helps in sugar reduction, specifically in cereal bars and OptiSol 1061 Greek yoghurt powder that allows for the coating of the bar to be fortified with protein. This bar also contained chia seeds branded as the SelectChia™ Cracked White MP which is a heat treated cracked chia that improves its shelf life and also delivers a source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids (Chia is famed for this property). Other Glanbia products include OptiSol 5000 and OptiSol 5300 which are flaxseed based and could serve as substitutes for chia seed although it has a slightly lower omega-3 content. These ingredients are touted as providing fortification with optimised moisture control in baked goods like muffins.
Litesse Polydextrose (Du Pont Nutrition & Health) has been assessed clinically and has good tolerance and satiety benefits. It has been tried and tested in nutrition bars, meat products, baked snacks even popcorn (authors own work). Du Pont showed their Superfruit Crisp Bites at the 2014 SupplySide West show, which was a healthy snack concept. These bites were crispy bite-sized and drizzled with vanilla flavour and contained polydextrose, fruits, protein and probiotics. This concept contained SUPRO soy protein nuggets for protein, and HOWARU Bifido for stomach benefits.