Fruit juice makes up around a third of the beverage market (excluding bottled water), according to Euromonitor International, and smoothies fall within that category. Major beverage companies have acted on big opportunities in smoothies, such as Coca Cola’s investment in Innocent and PepsiCo’s acquisition of PJ Smoothies and development of smoothies under its Tropicana brand.
The French ingredients firm is discussing a new smoothie concept with customers which it is calling Fruit and Fibre. It involves simply adding its Nutriose fibre ingredient to the recipe. Using 3.2 per cent of Nutriose in a 250ml serving would yield a fibre content of more than 8g, enough to make a ‘good source of fibre’ claim.
Nutriose, a range of high-fibre dextrins from wheat or maize, is highly soluble and does not have an impact on taste. Marine Pochat, global market development manager for fibre, told FoodNavigator.com that higher levels are technically possible. Indeed, no new equipment or R&D expertise are required to add the ingredient.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily fibre intake of between 25g and 30g. Although smoothies do contain some fibre from the fruit, Pochat said consumers may expect them to contain more.
She explained that the company identified smoothies as a good vehicle for added fibre as it sought to respond to the challenge to bring innovation to the market, but without straying from the three important aspects of smoothies: health, taste and naturalness.
Roquette has conducted some clinical studies into the effects of its Nutriose fibre on satiety and weight management. The indication is that 8g-14g of fibre a day may boost satiety, and 14g aid weight management. The studies were conducted by contract research organisations and, as with all Roquette studies, the company plans to publish the results in a scientific journal.
Pochat said that Roquette’s approach is not to suggest Nutriose for every application where it is technically possible, but only in cases where it can answer a consumer and market need.
The company has a team of four market developers dedicated to fibre who look at market stimuli, consumer behaviour and studies in Europe, the US, Asia and emerging markets. The needs in each market are seen to be different. For instance, in Japan there is a keen need for more fibre in the diet, whereas in China fruit and vegetable consumption is high and there is more emphasis on prebiotics.
The main markets for smoothie are seen to be the US and Europe, with some interest in Asia. As they are premium products that are priced accordingly, they are not seen as appropriate in all countries.