The company has developed a reduced starch oat bran with 90 per cent fibre content, which also has a low water-binding capacity. Low water-binding capacity is crucial in low-carb products because the extra fibre, added to replace the usual starch content, increases the amount of water required.
"The more fibre you add the more water you need. Therefore you need fibres with low water-binding capacity," explained Harmut Bollinger, managing director of J Rettenmaier & Sohne.
The German firm, which makes around 40 per cent of its sales in the US, has already seen revenue growth of 30 per cent this year as demand for fibres is boosted by new low-carb formulations.
"Low carb applications are responsible for about 25 per cent of our sales," Bollinger told NutraIngredients.com.
Other fibres being targeted at the low-carb market include resistant starches, prebiotic fibres like inulin and isolated fibres. MGP Ingredients linked up with Penford Corporation to launch a potato-based resistant starch for increasing fibre and reducing carbohydrate levels earlier this year. It offers a minimum of 80 per cent dietary fibre with a lower water-binding capacity than wheat or oat fibres.
The US firm has also seen strong growth on the back of the Atkins diet. But Bollinger said that while there has been "a shortage of fibres due to high demand from the US, decreasing interest and new capacity" may turn this situation around.
Several firms such as SunOpta Ingredients had increased their capacity this year. Meanwhile Atkins Nutritionals, the US company behind the low-carb diet, said this week that it had hired a turnaround specialist to shake up its business in the wake of increasing competition and waning consumer interest in low-carb diets.
In Europe, however, where the trend began later, new product development is expected to continue for some time.
"We will not see the same boom as we saw in the US at the beginning of the year but there is considerable demand in the UK and it is also growing in Germany," said Bollinger.
Atkins' UK division has also confirmed continued strong demand for its products and said it is increasing distribution. This is currently the biggest market for low-carb products in Europe.
JRS will present the new Vitacel product at Health Ingredients Europe in Amsterdam, taking place from 16-18 November.