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The US represents a vast, largely untapped playground for manufacturers of prebiotic fibres and probiotics, according to Foodmanufacturer.co.uk.

“In terms of digestive health, we are seeing the beginnings of huge potential in the US and Latin America,” the report said, quoting Tim Van der Schraelen, marketing and communication manager at Beneo-Orafti, a global ingredients firm.

Despite the US being a highly developed and sophisticated market in some ways, it was behind the times when it came to acceptance of ingredients promoting gut health in products, said Van der Schraelen.

“Consumer research put the concept of ‘good bacteria’ to Americans. The response of many was: ‘I’m healthy, so I don’t have any bacteria.’

“You have seen huge commercial successes in America with products such as Fibre 1, from General Mills, and Fibre Plus from Kellogg.”

The dietary fibres market in some developing countries could reach maturity in a few years, he said. “If you go to Russia you find prebiotic dairy products. If you go to China you find prebiotic water and dairy products, so things are evolving very quickly.

“But in terms of developing markets, the US has huge potential. It’s right at the start of the digestive market.”

While the focus for dietary fibres should be the US in the short term, he said, in the longer term, countries such as Indonesia and India also represented huge potential.

However, only the largest fibre processors were set to capitalise on the market’s future development, he said. “Setting up an inulin or oligofructose factory is a huge investment. You need big capacity to make it possible, so the market is still really in the hands of the global players.

In Europe, one of the biggest potential areas of development for Beneo was the fortification of gluten-free products, said van der Schraelen.

He said the company was seeing the first commercial applications of its Remylive rice-derived fibre product and the application of its Synergy 1, which combines inulin and oligofructose, in bread.

He was confident that Beneo could work with the European Food Safety Authority to substantiate prebiotic and probiotic health claims. — Source: Foodmanufacturer.co.uk

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