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Tate & Lyle: Consumers want healthy start to day

Author : Sandrine Bouvier

12 August 2011

EXCLUSIVE Tate & Lyle’s ongoing study into consumers’ health and wellness preferences clearly shows that Europeans are increasingly looking for healthier food and beverage options in order to manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle

The research also reveals a growing awareness of the importance of fibre, the nutrient that most European consumers believe is most lacking in their diet.

Breakfast foods and beverages are no exception to this trend. Cereals, for example, can be a convenient and versatile breakfast option, offering great variety and appealing to all ages, as well as being commonly considered to be a healthy choice. In 2010 Tate & Lyle polled more than 1,500 people across Europe on the health benefits that they considered most important in their breakfast cereals and those that they would be willing to pay more for.

The research reveals that while there is some crossover between benefits viewed as important for purchase and benefits consumers are willing to pay more for, the results are not identical. Around a third of respondents suggested that the claims “high in fibre”, “reduced fat”, “containing 30% less sugar” and “30% fewer calories” would encourage them to purchase breakfast cereals. However, when questioned about which benefits they would spend extra on, 75% of respondents rated the “keeps you full for longer”, “improves digestive comfort”, “helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol” and “high in fibre” claims as most important.

We have seen similar findings reflected in the marketplace, especially with children’s breakfast cereals; while the sector has generally enjoyed stable growth, children’s cereals with ‘low-in’ or health claims have increased disproportionately. This type of product has proven particularly popular in Western Europe and we believe this trend will continue.

In order to help breakfast cereal manufacturers improve the nutrition profile of their products, specialists like Tate & Lyle are increasingly developing ingredients which allow manufacturers to widen their product range and deliver health benefits to consumers.

Polydextrose and Fructose are two examples of ingredients which can be used in the production of healthy and tasty breakfast options. Polydextrose is a soluble fibre that is clean-tasting and easy to use. With only 1 kcal per gram, it is also a premium, low-calorie bulking agent used to provide body and texture in reduced-calorie, no added sugars foods.

Fructose is a nutritive sweetener that is also a functional ingredient in food systems. It has properties that differ from those of sucrose or glucose-fructose syrup, and allow formulators to take advantage of its high relative sweetness, synergy with nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners and positive interaction with a wide variety of food ingredients.

Tate & Lyle has developed a range of breakfast cereal concepts which demonstrates that using FRUCTOPURE® Fructose and STA-LITE® Polydextrose can provide a high fibre content, 30% sugar reduction and high quality sweetening, without affecting taste, crunchiness or gloss. In addition, the prototypes shows excellent bowl stability when milk is added.

These prototypes demonstrate that using polydextrose and fructose in a range of products can not only lower the sugar content but also enrich the product with fibre, allowing manufacturers to make nutrition claims in their product labelling. Among the sweet breakfast options that Tate & Lyle has developed there are a number of cakes and muffins that are reduced in sugar by up to 35% and in fat by up to 50%. Another example is a reduced sugar gingerbread product with added fibre and a deliciously soft and sweet taste.

Overall, we see that consumers are looking for reduced sugar/calories breakfast products in order to help manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In spite of this, manufacturers must remember that consumers will not compromise on taste and mouthfeel. There are several different ways of optimising the taste of reduced sugar alternatives with the use of fructose, high potency sweeteners and fibres, in order to provide consumers with great tasting breakfast products.


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