The technical challenges of reformulating with different dietary fibres

RSSL's Carole Bingley examines the factors to consider when formulating with fibres


There is a need to increase fibre consumption in the general population as intake is generally below recommendations. This has resulted in an increasing number of fibre‐containing products being developed by food manufacturers. In addition, fibres are widely used by the food industry for their functional properties such as texturisers and stabilisers or as bulking agents for replacement of sugar.

This paper discusses the types of fibre ingredients available for use and the factors to consider when formulating with fibres, as well as the criteria for making nutrition claims for fibre content and authorised health claims for fibres.


Dietary fibres are a broad term covering a wide range of ingredients. One of the ways of grouping the different fibres is by how they behave in the body and these properties can also provide a useful means of classifying the functionality of fibres in food formulations. They are not mutually exclusive, and some fibres can be classified in two or more categories.

In terms of sources, most plants contain both insoluble and soluble forms of dietary fibre. However, when the fibre portion is extracted, it is usually defined according to the dominant type. On this basis, wheat bran and oat bran are examples of insoluble fibres, while inulin, soluble corn fibre and β‐glucans are included in the soluble fibre group.

These hard‐working ingredients can be an extremely useful addition to many different food and drink formulations – particularly those aligned with some of the most recent consumer trends. For the product developer, it’s a question of understanding which type of fibre will deliver the best results within the defined parameters of each project.


As discussed by Koç et al. elsewhere in this issue (Koç et al. 2020), fibre is important for health yet intakes are generally below recommendations. Concerted efforts by public health organisations to raise awareness about the health benefits of adequate fibre intake are expected to help shape consumer behaviour and increase demand.

Fibre is naturally present in most plant‐derived foods such as whole‐grain cereals, vegetables, fruits and pulses (see Buttriss 2020 in this issue) and, increasingly, fibre‐containing ingredients and extracted dietary fibres are being seen as a means not only to boost fibre intakes but also as a functional replacement for other ingredients, such as sugars.

However, fibre is not included in the list of mandatory back‐of‐pack nutrients and current EU legislation does not allow fibre to be included in the front‐of‐pack declaration. For manufacturers keen to capitalise on fibre content, developing products that offer a source of fibre and carry a corresponding on‐pack claim is, therefore, key.

Originally published by Nutrition Bulletin. Click here to read the full article.



Carole Bingley

Carole is a Technical Specialist working in RSSL’s Product and Ingredient Innovation Team. With 25 years’ experience in the food industry, Carole’s projects have included developing dairy and vegan meat alternatives and working with a wide range of sweeteners and bulking agents.

During her time with RSSL, Carole has undertaken ingredient evaluation and product development projects for clients in several different food industry sectors.

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