The World Health Organisation for example recently recommended that adults and children cut down on their daily consumption of free sugars to less than 10 percent of total daily energy intake. This new guideline resonates with consumers in Asia, who are getting more careful with their sugar consumption. Also consumers have long associated the intake of ‘bad’ fats—saturated and trans fats—and a high caloric diet with weight gain. Consequently many consumers are of the view that ‘less is more’ and adopting a 'reduce or avoid’ approach to these food components in their daily diet, and some are going low calorie altogether. This is also reflected by market figures: Industry watchers expect the global market for low calorie, sugar-reduced products to reach US$10.4 billion in 2019—a jump from the current US$7.4 billion.
Food manufacturers in Asia are therefore facing this challenge, as well as opportunity, to cater to the rising demand for products with less sugar and fats. Naturally, they also need to continue to ensure that they do not compromise on taste and texture while doing so. With the help of BENEO’s functional ingredients, manufacturers in the food and beverage industry can leverage the power of ‘less’ to help drive pivotal and positive change in dietary preferences and cater to the strong consumer demand for healthier dietary options.
Formulate With Less Fat
Food and beverage manufacturers now have the opportunity to offer products that are low-fat and yet retain the familiar taste and mouthfeel as full-fat ones. Prebiotic fibres such as inulin are ideal in this instance, given that they not only enhance the nutritional profile of foods but also maintain taste and texture.
Extracted from chicory root, inulin acts perfectly as a fat replacer in low fat dairy products by providing a creamy mouthfeel and body. This white, odourless, soluble powder has no off-taste and can stabilise water into a creamy structure. BENEO’s Orafti® inulin, e.g. Orafti HPX, not only delivers a similar mouthfeel to fat, it helps to reduce the energy content of food products. It also improves the body of low fat products, delivering roundness and creaminess, as well as a better balanced flavour to a wide range of dairy products, including dairy desserts, drinks and spreads.
Naturally Sweet With Less Calories
Manufacturers that are looking for ways to replace sugar entirely or partly in their formulations and recipes can look to ISOMALT, the only sugar replacer that is derived from pure sugar beet, as a solution. ISOMALT can be used to replace sugar in a 1:1 ratio. About half as sweet as sugar in taste, it is also low in calorie (two kcal/g) and toothfriendly.
Another approach to sugar replacement is to include dietary fibres inulin and oligofructose. With about 30 percent of the sweetness of sucrose, these ingredients not only offer the nutritional benefits of fibre but also add a mild sweet taste to food and drink products. BENEO’s functional fibres can help achieve excellent taste with fewer calories, facilitating product development with healthier nutrient compositions and lower calorie counts. Additionally, they can be used with high intensity sweeteners, to create a more balanced and sugar-like palate without any after-taste.
Another major concern for consumers in Asia is diabetes. This is understandable given that the number of people with diabetes in Southeast Asia alone has been projected to increase from 72.1 million to an alarming 123 million by the year 2035.
Many consumers are choosing foods with low glycaemic value, recognising the role and benefits of a low glycaemic diet in maintaining a healthy weight, preventing diabetes and improving diabetes control. This is because high glycaemic foods raise blood glucose more than foods with a lower effect on the blood sugar level. A scientific consensus statement by leading experts supports the positive influence of low glycaemic diets regarding a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases.
Innovative food manufacturers can opt for functional carbohydrates or prebiotic fibres to lower the glycaemic response of their food products. For instance, BENEO’s Palatinose is a low glycaemic carbohydrate that is fully yet slowly digestible. Its slow uptake by the body allows energy to be released in a balanced and sustained fashion. It also offers a mild natural taste while being kind to teeth.
Food manufacturers can also consider reducing glucose supply by replacing fully available carbohydrates with prebiotic fibres, or by using the sugar replacer, ISOMALT in their recipes. Studies have shown that these ingredients are effective in reducing the post-prandial glycaemic response of food when substituted for sugar in food and drink items.
Leveraging ‘Less’ Is More
The trend is obvious: Consumers want tasty food and drinks with an improved nutritional profile. They are going for less fats and sugar, and are seeking out products with a low glucose response. Manufacturers can leverage the power of ‘less’ to keep up with consumer preferences and also play an instrumental role in helping consumers eat healthier. Functional ingredients mentioned above act as the tools that manufacturers are equipped with to drive innovative and positive change in the food and beverage industry.
This article was sponsored by BENEO.