More than 60% of consumers believe that eating more fibre is essential for overall health, however, only 20% actually reach the European Food Safety Agency’s (EFSA) recommended target of 25g per day.
A study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Nutritional Sciences in 2015 showed that nearly 600 million Europeans don’t consume enough fibre. It also found that implementation of high fibre diets would lead to a reduction in fibre deficiency-related diseases, and potentially save the region €278m in healthcare costs.
Kerry’s own inhouse survey found that consumer understanding of the connection between fibre and prebiotics is increasing, along with the associated benefits such as supporting weight loss, reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, fuelling gut bacteria, helping in diabetes prevention and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
White bread is a popular staple the world over, but its low fibre content gives it a poor market on the nutrition scale. Kerry is hoping to change this scenario with the launch of Emulgold, a soluble dietary fibre ingredient that can boost the fibre content by up to 300% – a level that approximates the fibre content of whole wheat.
Made from the natural resin of the acacia tree, Emulgold delivers a high concentration of soluble dietary fibre (minimum 85%) that enables a ‘high in fibre’ claim and provides excellent digestive tolerance without the risk of unwanted effects. The ingredient is easily incorporated into bread and bread products, and even promotes the growth of healthy bacteria (bifidobacterial and lactobacilli) in the human digestive system, superior to chicory root at similar levels.
Kerry said sensory and texture analysis results also confirmed taste and aroma are unaffected, as are loaf volume, softness, crumb and crust colour and there is little impact on dough rheology, making it easy for bakers to handle. Conversely, in further application trials, Kerry found other fibres on the market – such as citrus fibre, soluble corn fibre and inulin – can negatively impact the sensory and dough handling properties of bread.
Supporting farmers and communities in Africa
Gum acacia is a clean label ingredient with noteworthy sustainability benefits. Emulgold is produced using natural resin from the acacia tree from the Sahel region of Africa. Local farmers harvest the gum in a manner that does not damage tree formation, therefore promoting continuity and making it a critical income generator within vulnerable communities.
Earlier this year, Kerry carried out proprietary research that revealed consumers consider ‘naturally sourced’ as the most important attribute in relation to responsible sourcing and processing. ‘Supporting farmers and growers’ was also shown to be very important.
Capitalising on white bread’s appeal
“Most consumers’ daily diets are significantly deficient in fibre, and this can greatly affect personal health and quality of life,” said Matthew May, head of European Bakery Business Development at Kerry.
“This important public health challenge is being taken up by food and drink manufacturers through such programmes as the UK Food and Drink Federation’s recently launched initiative dubbed ‘Action on Fibre’. Emulgold is a naturally sourced fibre, designed for use in the manufacture of white bread products, that can deliver a threefold increase in the volume of fibre consumed – without affecting the taste, texture and other traditional aspects of white bread that make it so appealing.”