Special edition: Closing the fiber gap

Bread still rules high-fiber realm; Latin America rising fast

“Most high-fiber claims come from the bread sector. Oat fiber leads in this category just before wheat fiber..."

When it comes to fiber, baked goods are king. That might sound obvious, but in a world where the nutrient, its source and end application are often separated, it is worth stating.

There are supplements, bars, drinks and more, but traditional bakery forms remain fiber’s rightful resting place, the popular form to deliver health benefits ranging from heart to digestive health.

High-fiber bread is the stand-out category with global sales of about $28.6bn in 2013 and this figure is expected to jump 25% to $36bn by 2018, according to Euromonitor International data. The North American market will put on about 10% ($600m) to $6.8bn in 2018; western Europe about 23% ($2.4bn) to $12.6bn.

However the real stand-out in growth terms is Latin America which will move past the North American market in sales for the first time; rising almost 55% from $5.5bn last year to $8.5bn in 2018.

In other categories globally, high-fiber cereals will grow by a billion, from $10bn to $11bn, and high fiber biscuits will put on about $500m to be worth $4.5bn in 2018.

No figures were available for other markets.

Broad fiber interest

Euromonitor health and wellness analyst Diana Cowland told BakeryandSnacks.com that fiber – which can be sourced from the likes of wheat, barley, other grains as well as fruits and vegetables – was gaining multiple stakeholder support.

“High fiber bakery products not only have to be produced, but they also need to be effectively marketed to consumers,” she said.

“Individual product and brand promotions by manufacturers are the usual route, but promotional initiatives launched by industry organisations in partnership with governments and research institutions can also help in furthering the popularity of healthy bakery products.”

She said HealthBread, a 2-year EU-funded project, which commenced in 2013 was a good example.

Bread fiber winners

According to Mintel, inulin, belonging to a class of fibers called fructans, is the most popular fiber followed by cereal fibers, vegetable fibers, polydextrose and fruit fibers. 

“High fiber claims in the bread and pastry sectors combined appear on about 4% of new launches,” said Julia Buech, Mintel trends and innovation consultant.

"This is the aggregation of packaged/industrial and unpackaged/artisanal bread. All wholemeal, wholegrain, multi-grain, brown bread, and bread substitutes that contain at least 6 g of fiber per 100 g or more are included. All such products are included, regardless of whether they are marketed on the basis of being naturally healthy or not."

Source: Euromonitor International

“Most high-fiber claims come from the bread sector. Oat fiber leads in this category just before wheat fiber as the most active fiber component. Inulin, polydextros and soybean fiber to follow.”

In bars, 21% of launches carried high-added fiber messaging, Buech said.

Aside from many claims approved worldwide usually related to heart or digestive health, the sector received a boost in the EU in late 2012 with the approval of six general function article 13.1 claims under the EU bloc's strict nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

But Cowland cautioned: Due to specific wording, not all are marketable, such as ‘contributes to an increase in faecal bulk’.”

“The one which will have the most resonance with consumers is wheat bran fiber, which can promote intestinal transit."


For more on this 'closing the fiber gap' special edition, see below:

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Cereal gets to the heart of fiber deficiency, but is fortification the way to go?

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