Sensus says Asia Pacific survey shows value of chicory root fiber in dairy industry

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Chicory root fiber is used in a variety of dairy products. Pics: ©iStock/Alexan2008/Magone
Chicory root fiber is used in a variety of dairy products. Pics: ©iStock/Alexan2008/Magone

Related tags: Nutrition, Dietary fiber

A study by market research company MSI-ACI for Dutch ingredient company Sensus says consumer interest in healthier foods in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region continues to grow.

The results of the survey​ indicate the growing consumer appeal of food and drink products with natural (clean label) ingredients and functional foods with benefits that promote good health.

APAC trends

More than 90% of respondents to the survey were interested strongly enough in ‘healthy food and drink products’ to purchase them, and approximately 30% claimed to purchase food and drink with added health benefits on a weekly basis.

More than three quarters of those surveyed (76%) indicated that they would be willing to pay a little more for food that is healthier.

One core trend confirmed by the survey is that consumers in the Asia Pacific region, as consumers worldwide, are going ‘back to basics’, which means that they want to buy foods that are fresh, natural and minimally processed.

A very high proportion of respondents (79%) look for natural (‘clean label’) ingredients – made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), artificial colors, and flavors; and they prefer foods made from fruit and vegetables. Natural foods with beneficial ingredients appear to be most desirable.

Purchasing yogurt

The survey explored consumer perceptions about yogurt as one of the specific food products often considered as a ‘healthier food’ and an option for better digestive health.

Of those surveyed, 18% eat yogurt daily and a further 30% eat it several times a week.

Consumption appears to be particularly high in China, and low in Australia.

sensus yogurt
Responses to yogurt consumption from the APAC study. © Sensus

The most important factors in purchasing yogurt were its value in supporting digestive health, and its taste. Reduced sugar and reduced fat were also important.

Almost 70% of the respondents believed that yogurts with health claims are still high in sugar.

Chicory root fiber

Sensus produces chicory root fiber, or inulin, a prebiotic, functional fiber used in a variety of food and beverage products, including widely in the dairy industry.

Chicory root fiber has natural sweetness and reduces the amount of processed sugar and fat needed within food products.

Inulin/oligofructose is used in many dairy applications like milk, yogurt, drinking yogurt, ice cream, spreads, margarines and desserts.

Uses in dairy

A Sensus spokesperson told this site that there are several reasons why inulin can be used in dairy products on a large scale.

Nutritional reasons include its low calorific value, sugar and fat replacement, and that it is a soluble dietary fiber.

Functional reasons for including inulin include taste improvement and solubility.

Labelling

In terms of labeling, the spokesperson said that when two of Sensus’ chicory root fiber products, Frutafit or Frutalose are part of the product formulation, there are several possibilities to classify them in the ingredient declaration.

“Inulin, oligofructose, polyfructose, fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), chicory root fiber or chicory root extract, dietary fiber (inulin), vegetable fiber (inulin) are examples that can be used,”​ the spokesperson said.

Sensus said that an advantage is that addition of Frutafit and Frutalose will hardly influence the taste or visual appearance of the product. Furthermore both products are stable to heat, are odor free, and have a neutral to sweet taste.

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