Fibre Water Can Aid In Digestion And Weight Management
Monday, May 6th, 2019
The fibre-infused water sector currently focuses quite heavily on digestive health, an apparent consumer concern in Asia Pacific. By Tan Heng Hong, APAC Food And Drink Analyst, Mintel.
Fibre infused water, a relatively new concept both in Asia Pacific and globally, has started to emerge in the beverage marketplace, particularly with leading beverage companies across the world introducing fibre water into their product mix.
According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), water launches featuring the ‘high/added fibre’ claim grew by more than 200 percent in the last year, albeit from a small base. Asia Pacific accounted for the largest number of these launches, followed by North America.
Although still niche, beverage giants such as The Coca-Cola Company have entered the market; an example includes Chun Yue’s Flavoured Fibre Water which was launched in China in 2018. Meanwhile, Nestlé launched its Ginger & Lemon Flavoured Still Water with Fibre in Chile back in 2017. The Philippines’ second largest bottled water producer, Philippine Spring Water Resources, launched its Nature’s Spring Fibre Water in 2018, a product which contains purified water and wheat dextrin—an ingredient which is said to help maintain a healthy digestive system. The addition of dextrin into bottled water is a new concept to the Philippines’ bottled water market.
Digestive Health Comes Into Focus In Asia
There is opportunity for beverage companies to follow suit and tap into consumers’ rising interest in digestive health, especially in Asia. Mintel research reveals that Asian consumers are interested in improving their digestive health; over a quarter of consumers in China have digestive problems such as indigestion and stomach ache while 29 percent of metro Thai consumers describe food and drink launches with functional claims, such as helping with digestion, as healthy food. What’s more, almost half of metro Indonesians turn to functional food and drink to aid in digestion.
Positioning Fibre Water As A ‘Fat-Blocker’
Fibre water brands are targeting mealtime occasions. The marketing materials created for Chun Yue’s Flavoured Fibre Water, for example, features an image of a full meal and the drink itself along with a tagline that enlightens consumers that they can eat without worrying about their waistlines as long as they have the drink along with a full meal, implying the product’s fat absorption benefits.
Indigestible dextrin, also found in Coca-Cola Plus which launched in Japan, is supposedly said to suppress fat absorption and help moderate levels of triglycerides in the blood after eating. Coca-Cola Plus is approved as a Food for Specified Health Use (FOSHU) in Japan; FOSHU refers to foods that contain functional ingredients with particular proven beneficial effects. Under FOSHU, dextrin is said to modify gastrointestinal conditions.
As such, fibre water can be positioned as a drink with satiety benefits for weight-watchers to help with weight management, portraying the product as an ideal beverage to go along with a meal.
Using Fibre To Suppress Hunger
Apart from FOSHU in Japan, there are no food regulations in other parts of Asia Pacific that warrant an official health claim linking fibre consumption with fat absorption, satiety, weight management and other health benefits.
Fibre water can still stand to benefit from consumers demand for food options that provide satiety and have a hunger-suppressing effect, attributes that are typically provided by fibre. Mintel research reveals that two in five adults in the US who are looking to lose weight say that ‘high-fibre’ is an important claim when purchasing food and drink. Meanwhile in Asia, a fifth of metro Indonesians and Thais use functional food and drink to keep them fuller for longer.
Worldwide, consumers are also gaining interest in getting enough fibre in their diets. In China, over a third of parents are interested in children’s food and drink that carry a ‘rich in dietary fibre’ claim. As such, opportunities exist for brands to pay attention to the ‘high/added fibre’ claim.
WHAT MINTEL THINKS
The fibre-infused water sector currently focuses quite heavily on digestive health, an apparent consumer concern in Asia Pacific. However, water with ‘high/added fibre’ claims can, if regulations permit, expand beyond digestive health to play a bigger role in weight management—either as a drink to suppress fat absorption during mealtimes or one that provides satiety and fullness to suppress the urge to eat.
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