Insatiable Consumer Demand for Superfoods Driving Insoluble Fiber Adoption in F&B Industry

Pervasive health and wellness trend rubbed off on insoluble fiber market in 2018, with global sales surpassing 650 thousand metric tons. Gains were led by growing consumer awareness, with food & beverages companies capitalizing on the newfound demand by offering new products or reformulating existing ones by adding insoluble fibers.

According to a study, insoluble fiber market also benefited from a growing body of research linking regular intake to lower risk of irritable bower syndrome (IBS). According to the GI Society, prevalence of IBS is 11% globally, and a significant percentage of global population in still undiagnosed. A rise in demand for fiber-rich non-dairy beverages including flavored water, juices, and powered drinks is also driving demand for insoluble fiber.

Increasing consumer awareness on the role of cellulose in lowering the risk of diverticulitis, constipation, and managing weight loss are driving its demand. According to the study, global demand for cellulose is set to surpass 260 thousand metric tons in 2018. Use of cellulose as a fiber supplement, thickener, calorie reducer, and emulsifier continues to grow among processed food and fast food companies. Food processors are also increasingly focusing on replacing expensive ingredients such as flour, oil, and sugar with cellulose, to meet the growing demand for processed food with high fiber content.

Powdered cellulose is witnessing increasing demand for anti-caking application, especially in powdered drink mixes, spice mix, and in grated and shredded cheese. With the rise in demand for low-calorie beverages, manufacturers are largely using cellulose gum as thickener in beverages and to reduce calories.

The use of cellulose gum in food and beverages sector is closely regulated by governing bodies. Many governments have stringent guidelines in place to ensure manufacturers clearly describe the ingredients used in their offerings. These measures are building confidence among consumers, while influencing food and beverage processors to focus on compliance. The US FDA has also issued new guidance to add eight fibers in the definition of dietary fiber. Several studies being conducted in North America for use of insoluble fiber in treating the digestive problem, obesity, and high cholesterol is poised to create opportunities for insoluble fiber manufacturers in the coming years.

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