Mind the fiber gap: Tate & Lyle develops calculator to combat dietary deficiency
19 Oct 2022 --- Tate & Lyle is launching a fiber calculator to track consumers’ intake and increase awareness around fiber deficiency. The tool calculates fiber consumption and recommends personalized tips to increase it to bridge the “fiber gap,” which is prevalent globally as most consumers fail to hit their daily intake of dietary recommendations.
The calculator’s features include eight questions aimed at assessing consumers’ current eating habits before giving a score related to the amount of fiber in the diet of those evaluated.
Tate & Lyle sponsored research into the public’s fiber input, revealing a disparity in the amount of fiber people should consume versus what they do, affirming the reality of the so-called fiber gap.
The calculator was created as a part of the company’s Gut Health Campaign, which aims to increase consumer understanding of the benefits of fiber.
“We hope that the availability of a tool like this will help raise awareness of insufficient fiber intake and improve daily intake. Reformulating everyday products such as cereal bars, yogurt and beverages can effectively improve nutritional intake,” says Renata Cassar, Latin America head of nutrition for Global Nutrition at Tate & Lyle.
The company suggests swapping white rice for brown rice, adding vegetables and legumes to pasta sauces and eating potatoes with skin to increase fiber intake.
The product is available on the company’s website and developed by the company’s nutrition team in partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation.
Lack of fiber in diets is an issue that spreads across many countries. For example, in the UK, adults reportedly consume 19.7 g of fiber per day on average (of the recommended 30 g) and in France, nearly 90% do not consume the daily recommended fiber level. Similar percentages are found across other European countries.
New consumer research conducted by Tate & Lyle among UK adults found that more than a third (36%) of people think they are not consuming enough fiber. The survey revealed that 32% of consumers didn’t know the UK government’s daily fiber recommendation of 30 g, with one in ten (12%) thinking they recommend as little as 15 g daily.
The survey also found that while many consumers know that eating fiber helps keep bowel function regular (65%) and improves digestive health (70%), far fewer understand that getting the right amount of fiber is highly beneficial for broader health and well-being, including lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (40%).
Another UK- based study, which suggests similar patterns in other countries around the world, indicated that 60% of people are interested in eating more fiber-enriched foods. Still, only one in ten (11%) consider the fiber content of food when making their food purchases today.
Considering the fiber gap, it was previously noted that a typical 2,000-calorie diet makes it difficult to consume the recommended amount of fiber. However, this presents a chance for the industry to capitalize on the market for fiber fortification by filling in the gaps in consumer diets.
Tate & Lyle has also announced support for a three-year research project by The University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute, which aims to improve the understanding of the UK food system and help people experiencing food insecurity and living with obesity make healthier, more sustainable food choices.
The study will investigate how poverty, food insecurity and obesity affect shopping habits. The research will address the number of nutrients in food bought by those with a lower income, tieing into fiber consumption.
“With the cost-of-living crisis, it is only going to get harder for people to make healthy food choices, particularly those living with obesity and food insecurity. This is a vital piece of research, and we are very much looking forward to working with this excellent team on this critical topic,” says Professor Alexandra Johnstone at the Rowett Institute.
As a part of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2023, the market researcher found that 62% of consumers reported a noticeable rise in the cost of their food and beverages. As a result, they are turning their attention to simple but nutritious goods that are affordable.
“Driven by our purpose of ‘Transforming Lives through the Science of Food,’ we believe this research is essential to better understand food systems in the UK and provide real-world strategies of how dietary inequalities can be addressed within the food retail sector in an environmentally friendly way,” says Dr. Kavita Karnik, global head for nutrition and regulatory affairs at Tate & Lyle.
By Sabine Waldeck
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