Increased intakes of fiber have been linked to a range of health benefits. Researchers from the US National Cancer Institute reported last year that increased dietary intakes of fiber are associated with lower risks of dying from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases (Archives of Internal Medicine, doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.18).
The message has filtered through to consumers, with a 2008 International Food Information Council survey reporting that 77% of people are proactively trying to consume additional fiber.
Despite such good intentions, however, many Americans only achieve about 50% of their recommended amount of 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily.
According to researchers from Dresden Technical University in Germany, consumer acceptance of fiber-rich yogurt is “frequently downgraded … because of an unfamiliar appearance but also because of a fiber-related off-taste”.
Over 700 students took part in their new study, published in the International Dairy Journal, which showed that, to achieve a ‘just-about-right rating’, fiber-enriched yogurts should be formulated with soluble fiber like inulin, and that visible insoluble fiber products had lower acceptance.
In addition, “the interaction between the perception of sweetness and flavor may be used to increase the acceptance of fiber-enriched yogurt”.
The Dresden-based researchers produced a range of reduced sugar vanilla yogurts. The sugar content was decreased by 30% and the fiber content was increased by adding inulin (supplier by Cosucra) or inulin combined with cereal products, including a grain mixture (wheat, rye, oat, barley and millet, supplied by Kaufland Warenhandels GmbH & Co KG), a milled mixture of flakes (oat, wheat, rye, barley and spelt, supplied by Peter Kölln KGaA,), or a combination of grains and milled flakes.
The formulations were designed so that appropriate claims are possible, including 30% sugar reduction, and greater than 1.5 g fiber per 100 kcal.
The researchers concluded: “It is evident that inulin worked best to incorporate fiber in yogurt, and it may also be concluded that sugar content could serve as tool to mask a lack in sensory quality.”
Packaged Facts estimates that in 2004, 91% of all fiber food ingredient sales were of conventional, insoluble-type fibers, which contains cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin and cannot be dissolved in water.
The remaining 9% share was split evenly between conventional, soluble-type fibers and emerging, novel fibers. The market researcher projects that insoluble fibers will decrease to 53.3% by 2014, while the share for the mostly new or newly refined conventional, soluble-type fibers will decrease slightly to 7.4%.
Source: International Dairy Journal
Volume 28, Issue 1, Pages 1-7
“Consumer acceptance of regular and reduced-sugar yogurt enriched with different types of dietary fiber”
Authors: K. Hoppert, S. Zahn, L. Janecke, R. Mai, S. Hoffmann, H. Rohm