18 Mar 2020 — Ingredients by Nature (IBN) has launched MonkFiber, a functional, sweet fiber from the pomace of the monk fruit. The launch comes at a time where sugar reduction continues to be in the spotlight, but underscores the increasing trend of dietary fiber enrichment as consumers pay more attention to increasing fiber content and gut health.
The use of fibers in food and beverage launches is increasing globally, featuring a 12 percent year-over-year growth when comparing 2018 and 2017 launches, according to Innova Market Insights data. In 2018, the top categories of global product launches tracked with fibers were Bakery (13 percent), Dairy (12 percent) and Desserts & Ice Cream (9 percent).
Moreover, a 2018 Innova Market Insights survey found that 68 percent of consumers said they consume fiber to promote healthy digestion.
Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a small green melon named so because of the monks who cultivated it centuries ago. The fruit is most often used as an alternative sweetener, but the outer shell is also a great source of insoluble fiber.
MonkFiber by IBN makes up more than 70 percent of the daily total recommended dietary fiber, is 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar and contains zero calories. MonkFiber is also a good source of mogrosides and antioxidants for greater support toward a healthy inflammation response and better immune health.
“We wanted to make the most of the whole spectrum of benefits that come with monk fruit and so created an ingredient that functions as an efficacious source of functional fiber that also delivers a sweet taste profile,” says Rob Brewster, president of IBN.
“Its rich fiber content makes it perfect for digestive and heart health applications. The residual mogrosides present in the ingredient, along with potent antioxidant properties, provide further benefits for a more holistic approach to health. To take things a step further, we are also beginning to investigate if there is any prebiotic application of MonkFiber to support gut health,” Brewster explains.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 3 percent of consumers meet the recommended daily fiber intake from their regular diet. Because of that, there is a large demand for products that fill that nutritional gap. Being a functional fiber, MonkFiber can be used in a range of food and beverage formulations aimed at providing sweeter support for digestive and heart health as well as dietary supplements It comes in various mesh sizes to accommodate different applications, such as bars, protein powders, fiber mixes, and powdered drink formulations – and is available as certified organic.
Booming industry innovation in the fiber space is particularly due to its health halo. Earlier this year, Netherlands-based Fooditive launched a natural fiber sweetener produced from apple and pear leftovers. “As it is actually a fiber, it can easily leave the body without causing any harm,” Founder Moayad Abushokhedim previously told NutritionInsight.
Meanwhile, US-based natural fiber brand Bellway introduced a “next-generation” soluble fiber that is suitable for keto, paleo and gluten-free diets. Israeli company Galam recently showcased its novel prebiotic fiber ingredient at ProSweets in Cologne, Germany, which is touted for its potential in reducing sugar content as well as improving gut health.
Last November, FoodIngrdientsFirst reported that Monk Fruit Corp. was marketing its all natural sweetener as having “tremendous potential in the EU.” David Thorrold General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Monk Fruit Corp. said that monk fruit is now growing at a faster rate year-on-year than stevia in the US market because it offers a unique combination of clean label, authentic natural origin, and excellent taste profile without the bitter and metallic notes associated with other natural sweeteners.
Sugar reduction remains a key theme in food and beverage formulation, with global consumers increasing demand for healthier alternatives and manufacturers avoiding sugar levies imposed by governments.
By Elizabeth Green
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