The Role of Dietary Fibre Ingredients in Supporting Food Reformulation Strategies
Diet- related diseases such as overweight and obesity are a major public health issue worldwide with incidences of overweight and obesity spiralling in Ireland and other EU countries. Research has shown that poor eating choices and behaviours and non-compliance with recommended dietary intakes are attributable to the scale of overweight and obesity being seen. Food reformulation has been viewed as a public health strategy to improve the nutrient profile of processed foods to improve nutrient intakes of populations without changes to the nutrient composition being perceptible to the consumer. Evidence has shown that dietary fibre ingredients can be used to modify nutrient compositions of processed foods as fat and sugar replacers. Results from studies analysed in this study strongly establish that inulin has a role to play in improving the nutrient composition of three food categories: baked goods, ice cream and breakfast cereals with minimal impact to physical and sensory characteristics. Results have shown that the products formulated with inulin had comparable properties to the control formulations. Nutrition data from 229 breakfast cereals collected shows that there are opportunities to reformulate with dietary fibre ingredients to improve the nutrient profile and improve nutrient intakes as strong sales data confirm the popularity breakfast cereals as a food choice in Ireland. Further work is needed to establish the optimised inulin level in each of the food categories for reformulation strategies and conduct further research into the feasibility of inulin in food reformulation strategies.