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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Representatives pointed out that even as demand and awareness for prebiotics increases, chicory root fibers are still one of just a few ingredients that are proven prebiotics.
At the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo in June, Beneo (Manheim, Germany) highlighted its chicory root fiber ingredients, Orafti inulin and oligofructose, as key fibers in the prebiotic market. Representatives pointed out that even as demand and awareness for prebiotics increases, chicory root fibers are still one of just a few ingredients that are proven prebiotics.
“The International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) recognizes inulin as being one of three proven prebiotics,” said Kyle Krause, regional product manager, Beneo, at IFT. “There are a lot of candidate prebiotics out there that have some science, but not to the degree that chicory root fiber does. There are a lot of ingredients out there that are saying, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re prebiotics as well. But in fact they have limited science.” By contrast, chicory root fiber has been scientifically shown to assist with blood sugar management, to aid in the body's absorption of minerals from food, and to help people of all ages maintain bowel regularity and digestive health.
At IFT, Beneo highlighted its broad portfolio of research on its inulin. Most recently, the company reported the results of a study1 in children ages 3 to 6 years, which Nutritional Outlook reported on, which showed that daily consumption of chicory root fiber helped keep the children’s bifidobacterial level higher and more stable, even during treatment with antibiotics.
Beneo says that this is study is “the first of its kind to provide an in-depth investigation into the effect of prebiotic chicory root fiber supplementation on the gut microbiota composition of children aged 3 to 6 years, including those taking antibiotic treatment.” (This study is also notable because it used state-of-the-art methodology-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis-to map the microbiome in order to determine the increase in bifidobacteria in subjects.)
At IFT, Denisse Colindres, manager, nutrition communication, North America, pointed out the importance of studying the effects of chicory root fiber not only in adults and seniors (which the company has done), but also in children. She said there is still much to learn about how the microbiome develops and changes during childhood, but she noted that it’s been found that children with some measure of dysbiosis may encounter negative health effects later on. “That’s why this age group is so interesting,” she said. She added that the company will continue its research on chicory root fiber. “We want to cover all age groups,” she said.
During IFT, Beneo handed out samples of a coffee drink containing its chicory root fiber plus the company’s Palatinose isomaltulose sweetener.