The potential for prebiotics

Related tags Marketing Dietary fiber

Regular consumption of the sugar replacer Isomalt appears to have a
prebiotic effect on gut bacteria, according to preliminary findings
of a study being carried out in Germany.

The early results, revealed at FiE last month, highlighted a functional health benefit of the low-calorie bulk sweetener, often used as a sugar replacer in hard sweets, and also in backed goods and snacks.

It also revealed the growing awareness of prebiotics, a market still in development stage and valued at €87 million, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. But while today's the European prebiotic market is restricted to a handful of companies (three companies hold 70 per cent of the market share), new entrants are expected as awareness grows and consumers become increasingly interested in gut health.

Frost & Sullivan predict annual growth of 9.7 per cent to bring the European fructan market up to €179.7 million by 2010.

Closely related to probiotics, prebiotics are carbohydrates thought to stimulate the growth and activity of certain beneficial bacteria in the gut. Ingredients that have so far been identified as having such activity include inulin, fructooligosaccharides, resistant starch and the sweetener tagatose.

Finished products containing prebiotic ingredients include bread, chocolate, yoghurt as well as supplements. However most prebiotic ingredients are also used for their other functional properties, such as inulin which can replace fat or improve texture and mouthfeel. This does however mean that marketing the ingredients as health products is more complex and needs to significantly improve consumer awareness.

In the four-week study on Isomalt, the ingredient was found to stimulate bifidobacteria in a group of 20 people. Full results of the study will be reported next spring.

"People always cited the laxative effect of Isomalt. But in fact, constipation presents a bigger problem for today's consumers,"​ said Claudia Meissner, marketing manager at Palatinit​, the product's manufacturer.

She added that the firm is still assessing the potential of the prebiotic effect."Once we found out that the ingredient had a low digestible effect we started to look into prebiotics. But we haven't yet done any consumer research."

Other companies promoting prebiotics at FiE included Sensus, Orafti, Beghin-Meiji and Cosucra. Contact Noel Anderson​ at Frost & Sullivan for more details on the prebiotics report.

Related topics Ingredients

Related news

Related products

show more

The great yogurt debate 2022

The great yogurt debate 2022

IFF | 30-Nov-2022 | Product Brochure

Nutritious, delicious and endlessly versatile – yogurt products are a favorite with shoppers across Europe.

Benefit from our plant-based dairy expertise.

Benefit from our plant-based dairy expertise.

ADM | 01-Nov-2022 | Case Study

Are you looking to elevate your work in plant-based dairy? ADM is ready to help with a full ingredient pantry and advanced formulation expertise to meet...

Discover the secret to exceptional non-dairy m*lks

Discover the secret to exceptional non-dairy m*lks

Amano Enzyme Inc. | 21-Oct-2022 | Infographic

We’ve cracked the great non-dairy m*lk puzzle! Put an end to your plant-based m*lk formulation woes with our enzymes – the missing puzzle piece you’ve...

Related suppliers