These days the question “what’s for breakfast?” may bring varied answers, all offering opportunities for fiber inclusion. Cereal remains a top choice for breakfast, but competition has increased. Bars offer convenience while breakfast sandwiches and burritos at quick-service and fast-food outlets also may fit into on-the-go lifestyles.

Do not forget frozen foods such as waffles, either. According to The Nielsen Co., New York, U.S. retail sales of frozen breakfast foods reached $2,714,973,788 in the 52-week period ended Dec. 22, 2012, up 6% from the previous 52-week period. Cereal sales were higher at $10,821,687,154, but sales were up only 0.1% from the previous 52-week period.

New York-based Rabobank investigated competition for breakfast share in a report released in April called “Cereal killers: Five trends revolutionizing the American breakfast.”

The report said, “After a stunningly successful run of more than 100 years, the American-style breakfast cereal market is looking rather stumped.”

The report urged cereal makers to spend more on food ingredients relative to advertising budgets.

The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., invested in fiber as a cereal ingredient in recent years. The cereal company was involved in a study that appeared on-line March 6 in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The study investigated the impact on fiber intakes of ready-to-eat cereals with whole grain claims. A 14-day eating frequency diary was collected from U.S. free-living households over three years in The NPG Group’s National Eating Trends panel. Results found adults consuming whole grain R.-T.-E. cereals with 3 grams or more of fiber per serving consumed 42% more fiber at breakfast and 14% more daily fiber than typical adults.

Likewise, the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, part of Minneapolis-based General Mills, Inc., supported a study that appeared in the May 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study found a high fiber breakfast cereal contributes to a cumulative reduction in breakfast and lunch energy intake, possibly due to its high satiety value. Thirty-two people randomly were assigned to eat either 60 grams of breakfast cereal that contained 26 grams of insoluble fiber and 120 calories or 60 grams of breakfast cereal that contained 1 gram of fiber and 217 calories.

Specific kinds of fiber come with their own health characteristics, such as satiety, digestion and heart health benefits. According to a Mintel study released in December, 69% of respondents who eat breakfast food consider low cholesterol or heart healthy claims important when making their breakfast choice. Additionally, 65% said they think low-fat and high-fiber are significant health-related attributes when selecting breakfast foods.

Ways to incorporate fiber into cereal are many.

TruBran corn bran, an ingredient from Grain Processing Corp., Muscatine, Iowa, that is a minimum 85% dietary fiber, may be added to cereal puffs, said Tonya Armstrong, senior applications scientist. The ideal range for inclusion is probably 10% to 25%, she said.

TruBran comes in two different particle sizes. The F75M size is a finely milled ingredient that mixes easily with flour or other dry ingredients. The F75R size has a coarse particle size and may work better in products where a more visual fiber is the goal.

Litesse polydextrose from DuPont Nutrition & Health also may be included in cereal, said Cathy Dorko, regional product manager, active nutrition, for DuPont Nutrition & Health and based in New Century, Kas.

“We’ve had particular success with bread and baked goods, where it’s used in double fiber and ‘lite’ formulations,” she said. “Litesse polydextrose is also useful in boosting the fiber in breakfast bars. Actually, Litesse polydextrose is extremely versatile and well-tolerated. So it can be used in waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc.”

Litesse may keep cereal crispy in milk longer, she added.

“Cereal doesn’t get soggy as quickly,” Ms. Dorko said. “We have studies that support this.”

Polydextrose is fermented slowly and incompletely throughout the colon, which leads to such health benefits as optimal pH within the colon, reduced carcinogenic compounds throughout the colon, improved bowel function and minimal gas production, she said.

Adding fiber and cutting sugar

Along with adding fiber, inulin has been shown to assist in sugar reduction in cereal. The Rabobank report touched on nutrition in cereal and said upcoming nutrition criteria from the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) may lower the sugar content of cereals to 10 grams or less per 30-gram serving.

Inulin works well in breakfast cereal coatings as a replacement for sugar, said Scott Turowski, technical sales manager for Sensus America, Inc., Lawrenceville, N.J. Inulin may replace 20% of the sugar in the coating without any additional research and development work. Replacing 100% of the coating in sugar with inulin is possible, he added. Sensus offers Frutafit inulin and Frutalose oligofructose.

Beneo and Cargill also offer inulin ingredients.

Orafti Synergy1 from Beneo includes oligofructose and oligofructose-enriched inulin. Oligofructose has 30% to 60% of the sweetness potential of sucrose without any lingering aftertaste, said Joseph O’Neill, president and general manager at Beneo, Inc. At 2 calories per gram, it offers a low-caloric alternative to sugar, which is 4 calories per gram.

Cargill, Minneapolis, offers Oliggo-Fiber inulin, which it promotes as having benefits for digestive health, bone health through the boosting of calcium absorption and weight management.

Mr. O’Neill said oligofructose fiber also may work as a humectant to extend shelf life in bars.

The Rabobank report said the convenience and portability of bars play a role in a “snackfast” trend.

“The culture of snacking is transforming the breakfast-eating occasion into ‘snackfast,’ as epitomized by the rise of highly portable snack bars,” the Rabobank report said. “Over the last decade, the U.S. market for snack bars has more than doubled to almost $6 billion.”

Fiber options for fast food

Competition for breakfast day-part share has increased among restaurant chains such as McDonald’s Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., and Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., Canton, Mass.

Jerry Volkman, director, product innovation and development for McDonald’s USA, spoke about adding whole grains to Egg McMuffins during a presentation Feb. 28 at the Institute of Food Technologists’ Wellness 13 in Rosemont, Ill. He said product development throughout the menu at McDonald’s USA includes a nutritional target of 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving.

Dunkin’ Donuts introduced a turkey sausage breakfast sandwich this year and brought back its Angus steak breakfast sandwich.

“During the month of March, the breakfast sandwich category had its highest average weekly sales and mix per cent in recent brand history,” Nigel Travis, chief executive officer of Dunkin’ Brands Group, said in an April 25 earnings conference call.

It’s possible to incorporate fiber ingredients into the dough systems of breakfast sandwiches and burritos. TruBran may be used at high enough levels to achieve a good source of fiber (at least 2.5 grams per serving) in English muffins and bagels, Ms. Armstrong said.

Inulin may be incorporated into dough systems, too, Mr. O’Neill said.

“The inulin variant Orafti HPX is most suitable for use in bread and rolls,” he said. “It provides great hydrolysis stability and does not impair dough rheology.”

Orafti HPX is neutral in taste.

“Usually, bread can only be enriched with a limited amount of conventional fiber without causing sticky doughs and compromising on structure or granulation,” Mr. O’Neill said. “With Orafti HPX, the fiber content can be increased significantly without affecting processing or rheology. Orafti HPX is most suitable for adding an extra fiber boost to whole grain or high fiber dough systems, allowing for a higher degree fiber addition, without the need for adding excessive water to the dough.”

With regard to breakfast burritos, inulin may help with the texture and flexibility of whole grain flour tortillas, Mr. Turowski said. Inulin potentially may extend the shelf life of tortillas by keeping them softer and more flexible.

Ms. Armstrong said TruBran may be used to achieve 5 grams of fiber per 55-gram tortilla, qualifying it as an excellent source of fiber. Waffles are another application option for TruBran. Ms. Armstrong said GPC often incorporates Ultragrain flour with TruBran in applications. Omaha-based ConAgra Mills promotes its Ultragrain as having the health benefits of whole grain flour and the taste, texture and appearance of white flour.

Resistant starch and oat fiber are other ways to incorporate fiber into breakfast products.

Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., offers Hi-Maize resistant starch from corn with high amylose content. In the past 20 years more than 350 published studies have demonstrated health benefits associated with eating foods that contain Hi-Maize resistant starch.

SunOpta Ingredients Group, Edina, Minn., promotes how oat fiber may extend breakfast cereal bowl life while also providing health benefits. A July 16 demonstration at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Chicago will explain SunOpta rice fiber 310, a gluten-free ingredient that is more than 91% total dietary fiber on a dry weight basis. Derived from rice hulls, SunOpta rice fiber 310 may be used in such applications as gluten-free waffle mixes and extruded corn meal snacks.

Fiber studies focus on bowel health, satiety and calcium absorption

Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. recently supported three studies involving fiber and its potential health benefits. The London-based company offers both Sta-Lite polydextrose and Promitor soluble corn fiber.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study published on-line Feb. 20 in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers compared the laxative effects of Sta-Lite polydextrose and Promitor soluble corn fiber at a daily dose of 20 grams with a low fiber control in 36 people. Each treatment period was 10 days with a two-week washout period in between. Consumption of polydextrose and soluble corn fiber resulted in a mild laxative effect with nominal gastrointestinal tolerance issues.

“Since people aren’t meeting their fiber goals with the food they currently eat, adding fibers to foods is a realistic and simple way to address this global public health concern,” said Joanne Slavin, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and lead investigator of the study.

Another study, which was presented at the American Society for Nutrition Experimental Biology conference held April 20-24 in Boston, focused on satiety. The double-blind, randomized, cross-over design found soluble fiber dextrin from Tate & Lyle may help promote satiety from 3 to 8.5 hours after consumption.

Researchers from Iowa State University provided 41 adults with lunch that included a beverage with 10 grams or 20 grams of fiber from tapioca soluble fiber dextrin or a maltodextrin control beverage. A snack followed 2.5 hours later. Adults who ate the soluble fiber dextrin reported feeling fuller and had less desire to eat compared to the adults in the control group.

The third study, also presented at the Nutrition Experimental Biology conference, assessed the effect of Promitor soluble corn fiber on the bacterial environment of the gut in relation to calcium absorption in 24 adolescents. Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., found that when the youths consumed 12 grams a day of soluble corn fiber, they experienced a 12% increase in calcium absorption when compared to the control group.

“Emerging research on soluble corn fiber indicates that added fibers provide health benefits such as increased calcium absorption via their effect on beneficial bacteria,” said Connie Weaver, Ph.D., head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University and a lead researcher in the study.

5 trends in American breakfasts

The five trends in the report “Cereal killers: Five trends revolutionizing the American breakfast” released in April by New York-based Rabobank:

1. Breakfast is the new eating-out occasion.

2. The culture of snacking is transforming breakfast into “snackfast” as consumers seek convenience and portability.

3. Protein, including protein in Greek yogurt, is associated with satiety and weight management.

4. The cereal category is dealing with two nutrition issues: added sugars and marketing to children.

5. Since birth rates are declining, the growth of a key cereal-eating demographic (children) is slowing.