Ever multifunctional, fiber has found its sweet spot.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/matka_Wariatka
This is a great time for fiber. In the midst of increasingly difficult health-claims challenges in some countries, food and beverage firms are increasingly promoting more-general health and wellness benefits and renewing attention on well-known ingredients that consumers already link with health-ingredients like fiber. Fiber has long been associated with a range of benefits, including digestive/gut health, cholesterol reduction, weight management, and blood sugar maintenance.
Nearly 3.6% of global food and drink launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months ending June 2015 used “high fiber,” “source of fiber,” or “added fiber” claims. In North America, these claims rose to 4.8% of launches and over 9% in Australia/New Zealand. (In Asia, however, fiber claims fell to about 2% of launches.)
Fiber claims are used for many types of food and drink products, but two-thirds of U.S. fiber-claim launches were in one of four categories: cereal, bakery products, snacks, and ready meals/prepared foods.
Cereals account for the highest number of fiber-related claims overall-about a quarter of total fiber claims. Taking into account the relatively low number of launches in the cereal category, fiber-related claims thus accounted for over one-third of total cereal introductions, including both breakfast cereals and cereal bars, many of which are also marketed on a whole-grain platform. The use of oats in cereals has been rising for some time, for instance, with many products based on high-fiber and whole-grain platforms.
With high-fiber-claim activity ongoing in both hot and cold oat cereals, recent launches of granola-type products include Barbara’s Better Granola, with 6 g of fiber per serving as well as 28–30 g of whole grains and 9–10 g of protein. In the hot-cereals market, the ThinkThin cereal bar brand launched its Protein & Fiber product in the instant-oatmeal category in early 2015, featuring whole rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and quinoa, with 10 g of fiber per serving. In the cereal bars category, GoMacro launched its Thrive organic bars range, with different SKUs aimed at specific health issues but all featuring 3 g of fiber per serving.
In the United States, bakery products are the second-highest user of fiber-related claims, accounting for just over 15% of such claims in food and drink launches. Within the bakery market, 36% of biscuit launches featured fiber-related claims. But the larger market overall is bread, where over 11% of launches featured a high-fiber claim.
In the biscuits market, a key area of high-fiber activity is in the breakfast category. Virtually all breakfast biscuit launches were promoted as high in fiber and/or whole grain, and many included fruit and fiber. Eating biscuits at breakfast time is a commonplace ritual in some parts of the world, but brands like Mondelez’s Belvita are aiming to take the concept to new countries. The company began expanding a few years ago in the UK with the 2010 launch of Belvita there as a whole-grain biscuit, promoted as rich in cereals, vitamins, and fiber. The launch created a new breakfast biscuits sub-category and heralded activity in other countries, including Germany, the United States, and Australia, as well as helping to revamp existing markets in France and Spain. In the United States, Belvita launched in 2012 under the Nabisco biscuits umbrella, where it also had to pioneer a niche in either a new sweet biscuits sector in the breakfast foods market or a new breakfast option in the cookies market. Kellogg followed Nabisco into the market with its Kellogg’s To Go Morning Breakfast Biscuits in 2013, while General Mills’ Nature Valley cereal bars brand entered the biscuits market in early 2014, as did Post Foods’ Honey Bunches of Oats in 2015. Belvita extended its own biscuits range in early 2015 with Belvita Bites-mini, snack-sized biscuits.
The United States also has its own specialized high-fiber brands, led by General Mills’ Fiber One, which started in breakfast cereals and today covers a range of foods, including cereal bars, cookies, bread products, desserts, and cottage cheese. The brand further extended its range in 2015 with Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookies, Mint Fudge Brownies, and Cookies & Creme Bars, all with 20% of the daily recommended intake of fiber in each serving.
While more companies are moving to a more-general health and wellness positioning for their fiber products, one thing to remember is that, overall, while consumers seem to understand that fiber is needed for a healthy diet, the more-specific health benefits of fiber are not always so clearly understood, especially now that traditional health-benefit associations with whole grains, oats, and fruits and vegetables are now offered alongside different benefits offered by newer fiber sources such as prebiotics, resistant starch, and beta-glucans.
Innova Market Insights is your source for new-product data. The Innova Database (www.innovadatabase.com) is the product of choice for the whole product-development team, offering excellent product pictures, search possibilities, and analysis. See what food manufacturers are doing around the world: track trends, competitors, ingredients, and flavors. In today’s fast-moving environment, this is a resource you cannot afford to be without.
Innova Market Insights is your source for new-product data. The Innova Database (www.innovadatabase.com) is the product of choice for the whole product-development team, offering excellent product pictures, search possibilities, and analysis. See what food manufacturers are doing around the world: track trends, competitors, ingredients, and flavors. In today’s fast-moving environment, this is a resource you cannot afford to be without. - See more at: http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/authors/innova-market-insights#sthash.uVoHnLcJ.dpuf