Packed with a whopping 20% of beta-glucans, Beneo’s new Orafti® β-Fit flour can deliver the same amount of beta-glucans found in three bowls of oatmeal in just 15 grams, or three to four tablespoons, bringing qualified health claims within easy reach for many baked goods, pastas and other high-carb foods typically considered “indulgent,” Kyle Krause, North American Regional product manager for functional carbohydrates and functional fiber at Beneo, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“The use level of our flour in an application to reach the heart health claims is very, very minimal,” he said, explaining, “when it comes to verified health claims, you only need to use 25% per serving. So, per serving of bread, per serving of muffins, per serving of pasta – you only need to use 25% of what was shown in the daily dose. And 25% of three grams is rounded off to 0.8 grams per serving of beta-glucan.”
Because the amount is so small, manufacturers of baked goods, such as muffins, cake and biscuits, or pastas, cereals and meal replacements, can make a qualified health claim with only “minor” adjustments to their recipes and no changes in taste or texture that are discernible to consumers.
“Anywhere that bleached white flour is used, or other flours, a portion can be removed and our barley flour inserted to support those claims. So, it is very easy if you are making a cookie to just replace a small portion of the white flour with our enriched beta-glucan Orafti® β-Fit flour and be able to support a heart healthy claim,” he said.
He explained that Orafti® β-Fit flour helps lower cholesterol because it binds bile acids which are then excreted – prompting the liver to form new bile acid from cholesterol in order to digest fat – effectively lowering LDL levels in the blood.
Likewise, he said, the ingredient lowers blood glucose response by delaying in the small intestine the uptake of glucose from food to which it is added – giving consumers an effective blood sugar management solution.
Research also suggests that beta-glucans act as prebiotics and can be completely fermented by the gut microbiota.
The benefits of beta-glucans as soluble viscous fibers are supported by more than 120 scientific studies, and have been recognized not only by FDA but also EFSA and other national authorities, Krause added.
Heart health claims capture consumer interest
The heart health claims made possible by ingredients like Orafti® β-Fit flour are gaining importance with consumers – making products bearing them more desirable and potentially able to support premium pricing.
According to Beneo, half of US consumers report being extremely or very concerned about heart health issues and one in five of whom personally suffer from high cholesterol and hypertension, according to Beneo.
In research presented at IFT FIRST, Beneo added that about a third of North Americans currently eat whole grains to improve their heart health and more than 60% of US consumers have heard of beta-glucans – laying a strong foundation for their interest in products made with Orafti® β-Fit flour.
Furthermore, Krause said, Orafti® β-Fit flour is “very clean label,” and “consumer-friendly” in that it can be listed on ingredient decks as barley flour or beta-glucan enriched barely flour.
The ingredient is also budget-friendly for manufacturers as sourcing beta-glucans from barley is less expensive than sourcing them from the more frequently used oats, Krause said.
And finally, he notes, the ingredient is “eco-friendly” because it is made from the entire barley kernel – further reinforcing its lower price point and supporting sustainability considerations.