By now you should be fully aware that on May 20, 2016, FDA released mandatory nutrition labeling revisions. FDA made changes to the content and format of the Nutrition Facts label as well as to the reference amounts that determine the serving sizes of conventional foods. The compliance date for manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual food sales is July 26, 2018. For manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales, they get an additional year to get their labels in order.
Do not be fooled. This time will fly by faster than you think.
With that, let’s talk about fiber. Let’s back track to much earlier in the year when the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines were published. Once again, the guidelines identified fiber as a nutrient of concern in the American diet. In other words, Americans are not consuming enough fiber. (Fiber is actually a global health concern, so this information is relevant to all readers.)
Now let’s jump to May 20, when FDA, for the first time, proposed a definition for “dietary fiber,” a nutrient that will now need to be declared on the Nutrition Facts panel. Prior to the May 20 ruling, declaring dietary fiber was voluntary, and if stated, was to be quantified by appropriate AOAC analysis.
FDA’s proposed definition is based on the definition developed by the Institute of Medicine way back in 2001, prior to numerous fiber food ingredients being isolated, purified and extensively studied for physiological health benefits.
FDA’s proposed dietary fiber definition requires the product to meet one of the two following criteria in order to be classified as such:
- Non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants, or
- Isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.
“The problem with the proposed definition is that FDA provided a very limited list of ingredients that have been determined to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health,” said Scott Turowski, technical manager at Sensus America Inc. “This list excludes the majority of ingredients currently utilized in the market as sources of ‘dietary fiber.’”
One of the most common fiber food ingredients is chicory root fiber, also known as inulin. It’s not on the “proposed definition” list.
Photo source: Vitamix
In response to the new definition and requirements, the major chicory root fiber inulin suppliers jointly submitted a petition to FDA on September 12, 2016, requesting this ingredient, in its varied forms, be added to the list.
“The petition provides a great deal of clinical research demonstrating the beneficial health benefits of chicory root fiber,” according to Carl Volz, president at Sensus America. “The petition itself links chicory root fiber to four physiological effects that are beneficial to human health and includes clinical data from human studies supporting the benefits.”
In summary, the benefits and the number of studies are:
- Improved Laxation/Bowel Function (15 studies)
- Increased Absorption of Calcium (7 studies)
- Reduction of Blood Cholesterol Levels (9 studies)
- Attenuation of Postprandial Blood Glucose Levels (5 studies)
“Further, inulin-type fructans from chicory are one of the most studied food ingredients in the world,” says Volz. “It is defined as fiber in Europe, Canada and the rest of the world. We are very confident it will be defined as fiber as we go through this process with FDA, possibly even before the year ends.”
It truly is just a matter of time, as it makes sense that consumers be able to increase their fiber intake through chicory root fiber inulin-enhanced foods, including dairy products, namely yogurt, flavored milk and even ice cream.
And here’s even better news. Less than two weeks ago, on October 20, 2016, Sensus received written legal analysis by Covington & Burling LLP that determined chicory root fiber inulin ingredients, which have varying degrees of sweetness, are in fact not sugars and therefore, when used in a product formulation, do not require declaration as an added sugar…another new requirement on the Nutrition Facts.
That’s right, for the first time, the Nutrition Facts label must declare “added sugars,” and “sugars” now will be declared as “total sugars.” The value for total sugars will include all naturally occurring sugars, such as lactose in milk, and added sugars. No Daily Value was set for total sugars; however, for added sugars, it is 10% of calories, or 50 grams for adults and children over four years of age.
The FDA based this new requirement on a review of the science underlying the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. It is intended to help Americans make healthy dietary choices by monitoring their intake of added sugars.
To read about consumers’ opinions of added sugars, link HERE.
Responding to comments on the proposed rule’s definition of added sugars, FDA issued the following definition:
Added sugars are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type, except that fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100% juices sold to consumers, fruit or vegetable juice concentrates used towards the total juice percentage label declaration or for Brix standardization, fruit juice concentrates which are used to formulate the fruit component of jellies, jams, or preserves, or the fruit component of fruit spreads shall not be labeled as added sugars.
The legal experts at Covington & Burling LLP concluded that chicory root fiber inulin ingredients do not fit the definition of “added sugars.”
To read an article about reducing added sugar in beverages, including flavored milk and drinkable yogurt, link HERE to an article I recently wrote on the topic for Food Business News. It provides a detailed explanation on the sweeteners that won’t count as added sugar on the new Nutrition Facts label, as well as how fruit juice can be used as a natural sweetener, color and flavor in dairy beverages.
The President’s Choice brand, a private label of Canada’s Loblaw’s supermarket chain, is rolling out Greek Yogurt with Oats. There are two versions: overnight oats and steel-cut oats. Varieties include Banana Vanilla, Blueberry, Maple Brown Sugar and more. The variegate component is sweetened with stevia and contains chicory root inulin, which adds sweetness and fiber. A 150-gram serving contains 4 grams of both fat and fiber, and 10 to 11 grams of protein and 12 to 13 grams of sugar, depending on variety.
In Italy, Parmalat has introduced Fibresse Plus Wellness Milk and Yogurt. Both products are enhanced with soluble dietary fiber and biotin to assist with digestion and energy metabolism. A 100-milliliter serving of the milk contains 1 gram of fat, 3.2 grams of protein and 1.2 grams of fiber. The yogurts come in 115-gram pots, with a single-serve cup containing 1.7 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Yogurt flavors are: Orange & Cereals, Pear & Rolled Oats, Plain and Prune & Muesli.
Luv Ice Cream is a line of artisan products that boast on front labels “stevia sweetened.” Some of the ice cream ingredient panels indicate the product is made with the proprietary trade-marked Sweet Luv sweetening system, which consists of plant polyols, chicory root inulin and organic stevia. Other products simply state chicory root inulin and stevia individually. Ice cream flavors are: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, French Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Strawberry.
What is open innovation?
The race to invent, reinvent or simply improve products has become so fast that traditional development processes and cycles no longer cut it. Open innovation has become a proven and well-established method for reducing development times by sourcing disruptive ideas and solutions from all over the world. Open innovation itself is being reinvented as companies become more comfortable with the practice and seek to align their brand with “openness” while still accomplishing their goals for accelerated product development. The innovation challenge has emerged as a finely tuned open innovation option that delivers speed, transparency and ultimately solutions that can be applied more quickly in the market.
Canada’s Agropur Cooperative, in partnership with the Quartier de l’innovation de Montréal, AgBioCentre and NineSigma, announced this week the launch of Inno Challenge, an initiative to create new dairy products through open innovation. This is a Canadian first in agri-food innovation. Under the theme “Together, Let’s Reinvent Dairy!” a first call is going out across Canada and internationally to creative thinkers who will have until December 7, 2016, to submit their proposals for innovative dairy products.
The challenge seeks to identify impactful new innovations that expand, sustain and reinvigorate the use of dairy products and elevate dairy beyond a household staple. The selected participants will be announced in January 2017. Up to four projects will each receive an up to $25,000 grant and access to Agropur’s innovation support resources. Agropur will work with them to co-develop the selected concepts and bring them to the prototype stage. The results of their efforts will be presented at Agropur’s Inno Expo in April 2017. For more information, link HERE.