Opportunities for heart health on FDA soluble fibre amendment

By Lindsey Partos

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Quaker oats company, Oat, Nutrition

Fresh opportunities for food makers to tap into soaring heart
health market are opening up as FDA extends use of soluble
fibre health claim to include certain whole oat products previously
ineligible due to fat content.

In a final rule effective May 1, 2008 the US Food and Drug Administration stated that it is amending its regulation authorizing a health claim on the relationship between soluble fiber from certain foods and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Driven by a petition submitted in November 2005 from PepsiCo's Quaker Oats Company, the FDA ruled last week that the amendment exempts certain foods from the nutrient content requirement of 'low fat.' In short, the exemption will apply if the food exceeds the `low fat' requirement due to fat content derived from whole oat sources. Two years down the line since the original petition, PepsiCo's Quaker Oats Company will clearly welcome the amendment set to open up new market opportunities for its whole oat products. The relationship between soluble fibre and its role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease is the focus of ongoing research at food and supplement makers across the globe as they work to tap into ever increasing demands from the health-conscious consumer. In the US, where the entire fiber market was worth $192.8m (€151.0m) in 2004, insoluble fibre dominates the market with $176.2m (€138.0m), and $16.6m (€13.0m) for soluble. But market research firm Frost and Sullivan predicts that by 2011 the fiber market will more than double in the US to $470m (€369m). And growth in the soluble fiber sector is expected to outpace that of insoluble fibre - 26.3 per cent compared to 13.1 per cent. The fiber contained in whole oat is called beta-glucan soluble fiber, and is found in oat bran, rolled oats and whole oat flour. Up until May 1 2008 while Quaker Oats' unmodified instant oatmeal products were, and are, eligible to bear the heart health claim, the firm's flavored, reduced sugar products were not entitled to the claim because they did not meet the nutrient content requirement for 'low fat'. But with the final ruling from the FDA, this obstacle is now removed. Indeed, according to the firm, these products only have a higher fat content because by reducing sugar, the products contain more whole oats - and fat from whole oats.

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