Marketing: Fiber for Dessert?

August 16, 2011
Innova Market Insights

Fiber demand has reached the sweet bakery market.

Industry is meeting calls to increase fiber content head-on, with products incorporating fiber ingredients on the rise. Innova Market Insights tracked a 50% increase in the number of fiber-containing products in 2009 and 2010, compared to 2008. Innova Market Insights also tracked 8.6% more launches containing whole-grain ingredients from 2009 to 2010.

Product launches making an actual “added fiber” claim are holding steady. Innova Market Insights tracked 57 products worldwide featuring an “added fiber” claim in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 60 in the first quarter of 2010. Notably, recent launch activity from major manufacturers such as General Mills and Kellogg’s suggests the fiber trend is now entering the sweet bakery segment.

U.S. launches to meet fiber demand will continue to rise, thanks in part to government calls for increasing fiber and whole-grain consumption. The United States accounted for 39% of all launches using fiber as an ingredient tracked in 2010-well ahead of the number two and three markets: the UK (12%) and Italy (10%).

In the recently published 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), fiber is referred to as a “shortfall nutrient” (along with vitamin D, calcium, and potassium). The report found that, “On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood, and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains, and sodium.” According to the DGA report, at least half of recommended total grain intake should be whole grains. However, the report stresses that “less than 5% of Americans consume the minimum recommended amount of whole grains, which for many is about 3-oz equivalents per day. On average, Americans eat less than 1-oz equivalent of whole grains per day.”

Manufacturers are responding to fiber and whole-grain calls. In the United States, cereal and energy bars, bread and bread products, and breakfast cereals are the main application areas for new fiber products.

Sweet News

General Mills has been developing its extensive Fiber One line since 2005. It encompasses diverse product applications, from breakfast cereals to yogurt. The company recently added to the line, with 90-calorie brownies, the company’s first baked food offering in the line. Available in Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Peanut Butter varieties, each brownie contains 5 g of fiber, which is 20% of the recommended daily value.

In March, Kellogg’s announced the addition of two new flavors to its Special K Bars, as well as an overall increase in the line’s fiber content (now up to 3 g per serving). Bar flavors now touting the increased fiber content include Blueberry, Chocolatey Drizzle, Chocolatey Pretzel, Honey Nut, Peaches and Berries, Strawberry, and Vanilla Crisp.

These launches align with an emerging trend in fiber products: whole-grain ingredients are becoming increasingly present in sweet bakery products. In the cakes and pastries market, leading American wrapped-cakes supplier Hostess recently tapped into the whole-grain trend with the launch of its SmartBakes Streusel Cakes, made with 100% whole grains. The cakes come in raspberry, cinnamon, or cheese flavors, and contain 3 g of fiber and just 150 calories per cake. In 2010, Kellogg’s introduced two new whole-grain versions of its established Pop-Tarts toaster pastries: 20% Fiber Pop-Tarts, with either Strawberry or Brown Sugar Cinnamon fillings. Another interesting use of whole grains is seen in General Mills’ Pillsbury Frudel apple-filled pastry bars, which are recommended for heating as a warm “breakfast on the go.” They are being aimed at schools as a lower-calorie sweet snack, with 16 g of whole grains in each pastry.

In Canada, retailer Loblaws now offers Double Chocolate whole-grain muffins in its President’s Choice Blue Menu private-label range. The company adds a slightly healthier edge through the use of whole-grain flour and the absence of trans fats, while not compromising the indulgent feel of the muffin.

Fiber Ingredients

Certain fiber ingredients are gaining a larger presence in new North American products. There was a significant rise reported in the use of polydextrose, from 165 launches tracked in 2009 to 206 launches tracked in 2010. This growth came at the same time as a reported decline in the use of oat fiber, from 233 launches tracked in 2009 to 162 in 2010. Innova Market Insights also tracked gains for the use of “vegetable fiber,” “wheat fiber,” and “pea fiber.”

An interesting ingredient to watch is psyllium husk fiber, which offers an extremely high-fiber dose in just a small amount. To date, however, this ingredient has mainly been used in dietary supplement applications, including Nature’s Choice Bio-Friendly Colon Cleanse Psyllium Husk Fibre (in South Africa), touted as a “safe, high-soluble-fiber bulking agent that promotes natural bowel function and lower cholesterol.” The well-established prebiotic fiber inulin is also enjoying increased new product activity, with 5.7% more products containing the ingredient tracked from 2009 to 2010.

In Western Europe, launches containing inulin were stable from 2009 to 2010, despite an uncertain health-claims environment. What we may expect to see in the EU is a switch to softer claims around fiber, with manufacturers opting out of stronger claims such as “fiber to reduce cholesterol” or “fiber for gut health,” to “enriched with fiber” or similar claims.

However, soft claims or not, two major recent UK introductions illustrate that fiber claims remain a key breeding ground for future innovation in the EU, particularly in the breakfast cereals segment. Kellogg’s launched Coco Pops Choc N’ Roll, a children’s breakfast cereal with nutrition credentials that pass the stringent Food Standards Agency’s nutrient profile. Choc N’ Roll is promoted as offering moms “a lower-salt, lower-sugar, low-saturated-fat, high-fiber, whole-grain, and fortified chocolate cereal the kids will eat.” While the product’s nutrient credentials mean that Kellogg’s can advertise the product to children, the company is maintaining its strategy of advertising to moms.

Kraft’s BelVita breakfast biscuits, launched in 2010, are aimed specifically at the breakfast market and use whole grains to project a healthier image. New additions to the range in recent months include Honey & Nuts and Crunchy Oats styles. The first is made primarily with standard wheat flour but also contains just over 19% whole-grain cereals, including oat and wheat flakes, plus whole-grain wheat and barley flours. The second contains 40% whole-grain cereals, including oat and rye flakes.