Fiber-enriched next big thing in nutrition lingo

September 8, 2004, as reported by just-food.com: As the low-carbohydrate phenomenon reaches saturation in the food and beverage industry a new health trend is emerging--fiber. According to Productscan Online a Naples, NY-based database of new products fiber-enriched is the newest buzz word among food producers.

For the past fours years, the percentage of new food and beverage products making high fiber claims in North America has been stuck at around 2.5%, but the latest research from Productscan Online reveals that this has increased to 4.2% in 2004, as of the end of August.

"At the end of August, a federal dietary guidelines advisory panel recommended at least three servings of whole grains daily. Assuming that this recommendation is adopted for the revised Food Pyramid in the U.S., it should encourage the introduction of more fiber-rich foods," said Tom Vierhile, executive editor of Productscan Online.

Fiber Fever is catching on

Giants of the packaged food industry, including Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods and General Mills could have the most to gain from the emerging trend.

"All three companies have a lot at stake as the government turns up the heat in the war against obesity and tries to change American eating patterns," said Vierhile. “An emphasis on fiber could help consumers forget about the fading low-carb trend while helping the packaged food giants restore the health credentials of some of their core offerings.”

General Mills’ Oatmeal Crisp Triple Berry Cereal is now available in the US. The cereal is said to have a combination of real blueberries, sliced strawberries and whole raspberries that were picked at their peak plus the whole grain goodness of toasted oats and wheat flakes. The company says Oatmeal Crisp Triple Berry is made with heart healthy whole grain oats, is a good source of fiber, and is low in fat.

And in Canada, Kellogg Canada has paired up with George Weston Bakeries to introduce two breakfast cereal-branded high-fiber breads that could be a sign of things to come in the bread market. All-Bran Breakfast Loaf Bread and Two Scoops Raisin Bran Whole Wheat Breakfast Bread provide 9 grams of fiber and 7 grams of fiber per serving, respectively.

Pasta makers also appear to be primed to jump on the high-fiber bandwagon. Hit hard by the low-carb trend, pasta could stage a rebound with products like new FiberPast Pasta, an Italian import that is new to the US from Monte San Vito, Italy-based I.P.D. s.r.l. via Mercatale. FiberPast is claimed to have double the fiber content of whole-wheat flour and all of that extra fiber is said to reduce fat and carbohydrate absorption by the body. New Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Pasta is available from Harrisburg, PA-based New World Pasta. The pasta is touted in ads as being low in fat and sodium and a good source of fiber.

"The challenge for all packaged food makers is to make processed food "better for you" by not processing out natural nutrients and high fiber products are one step on the road to accomplishing this," concluded Vierhile.