New claim linking Fibruline chicory inulin and oligofructose to a post-meal reduction of blood glucose elevation is now possible on EU packaging

Cosucra’s chicory root fibre range, Fibruline, offers new possibilities for the development of sugar management products for nutritional applications and product positioning

A positive opinion was published by EFSA in early 2014 regarding a health claim related to non-digestible carbohydrates and a reduction of post-prandial glycaemic response (article 13.5 claim). After several months of discussion, we are glad to announce that the claim is now totally validated and can be used on packaging in Europe.

In the case of chicory inulin or oligofructose, such as Fibruline, Cosucra’s chicory root fibre range, the final wording is as follows: 'Consumption of foods/drinks containing inulin or oligofructose (or chicory root fibre) instead of sugars induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared with sugar-containing foods/drinks.'

The condition of use is to replace sugars (minimum 30%) with non-digestible carbohydrates such as inulin or oligofructose.

How did we do this?

A collaboration between the three leaders on the inulin and oligofructose market, namely Cosucra, Sensus and Beneo, has led to the submission of a dossier for an EU Art. 13.5 claim linking oligofructose and improved blood glucose response after intake.

The dossier presented to EFSA was based on new proprietary studies showing that when a proportion of the sugars in a product is replaced by chicory oligofructose, it leads to a lower blood glucose response after intake. Whereas those studies demonstrated that a reduced glycaemic response was obtained when only 20% of sugars were replaced, the conditions of use proposed in the evaluation refer to a 30% sugar replacement (that is, the minimum to get a ‘sugar replacement’ claim in Europe).

A second dossier focusing on chicory inulin, and also including additional newly developed scientific research, was ready for submission at the moment when EFSA’s opinion on chicory oligofructose was published. As EFSA broadened the scope to non-digestible carbohydrates when evaluating the oligofructose dossier, chicory inulin, such as Fibruline, is included and benefits de facto from this evaluation.

What are the implications for consumers and manufacturers?

With the evolution of our eating habits and of our way of life in general, diet related diseases such as obesity, overweight, impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes have increased and become the 21st century's major health challenges. This is the reason why the World Health Organisation (WHO) now strongly recommends reducing sugar intake to less than 10% of total energy intake, and better still, to less than 5% for improved health. If we consider that in some European countries, sugar consumption represents up to 17% of total energy intake of adults, there is potential for improvement!

The good news is that people are aware of that. Indeed, several survey have demonstrated that sugar has overtaken calories and fat as the biggest ‘villain’ when shopping for healthy food. A new claim related to sugar management is therefore a good thing, both for consumers and manufacturers of healthy food and beverages.

Reducing sugars and replacing them by non-digestible carbohydrates, such as Fibruline chicory inulin and oligofructose, will enable manufacturers to develop both indulgent and healthier food and beverage products with a lower impact on blood glucose levels.

This is a great opportunity to address the actual demonisation of sugar with a more positive message than just 'sugar-reduced' and with a clean label and locally sourced ingredient.

The new claim will be of interest to people suffering from diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. It will also appeal to ‘lifestyle consumers’ watching their weight or who are simply interested in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

To conclude, we can say that the market for sugar management is large and offers interesting opportunities for future development, particularly with more personalised products.

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