Health Trends in Snack and Breakfast Foods: How Prebiotics Play a Starring Role
J. O’Neill. BENEO Inc., Morris Plains, NJ, U.S.A. Cereal Foods World 56(6):232-234.
Health and wellness are increasingly in the spotlight, and people are more attuned than ever to making healthy choices. Health is an increasingly important component of the bakery category. In cereals, health accounts for 50% of new product launches in breakfast cereals and 42% of new product launches in snack bars. Consumers are driving development of new products that provide health benefits, with increasing demands for natural ingredients and functionality that deliver added value. Desired features include natural, fiber enriched, whole grain, organic, and no additives/preservatives added. A growing area within the healthy foods arena is prebiotics - natural plant fibers with beneficial properties. Prebiotics help prevent digestive disorders, and there are indications that they also play an important role in slowing the aging process and increasing longevity. In response to numerous studies illustrating the effectiveness of prebiotics in improving health, these plant-derived fibers are now included in product portfolios as functional ingredients that possess both nutritional and technological advantages. For this article, we will focus on two key prebiotics - inulin and oligofructose.