Challenges of incorporating inulin and fructans From November 2019

Challenges of incorporating inulin and fructans

Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) have attracted a great deal of interest as functional dietary fibres. With their mild sweetness but lack of distinct flavour, inulin and FOS can be used to replace sugar or enhance fibre in certain products. As manufacturers seek to reduce calories in their products, incorporating these ingredients (to reduce calorie density) may be a way of achieving this.

However, inulin and FOS are not for everybody. As ‘FODMAPs’*, they can cause digestive discomfort, when consumed above certain levels in the diet, in susceptible individuals. It’s therefore important for manufacturers and retailers to inform consumers of the levels of these ingredients in their products - this requires analysis.

Testing for fibre is tricky as the available methods provide slightly different results depending on the fibres present in the product. We have recently developed and validated an improved method for the measurement of inulin and related fructans in a wide range of products including chocolate, wholegrain breakfast drinks, smoothies and protein bars.

We are the only laboratory that conducts this analysis in the UK, so the method is an important part of our analytical support to members and other clients. It is also an important aspect of our project on calorie reduction through fibre enhancement, which is exploring the value of inulin for this purpose.

* Fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols

Contact: Mike Adams
+44(0)1386 842284

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