Tate & Lyle partners with APC Microbiome Ireland on dietary fiber research

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14 Mar 2019 --- Tate & Lyle has partnered with APC Microbiome Ireland, a Science Foundation Institute (SFI) Research Centre, on a research project on the health effects of dietary fibers. Representatives from both organizations joined Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, to discuss this project’s potential to improve global diets at the SFI food innovation roundtable in Washington, D.C., US, this week. The collaboration comes at a time when the industry is seeing growing consumer awareness of dietary fibers and their health benefits.

“There is expanding science behind fiber showing its influence on the microbiome, and new exciting benefits such as bone health, potential benefits related to immunity, and even a possible correlation between gut health and the brain,” Dr. Kavita Karnik, VP Global Nutrition, Tate & Lyle, tells NutritionInsight.

 For this new research project, which is funded by Tate & Lyle, APC Microbiome Ireland will screen dietary fibers to identify potential health benefits for specific age groups and to explore the benefit of these fibers for specific improved health outcomes, particularly relating to cardio-metabolic health.  

“The focus of this research project with APC is to increase our understanding of the potential health benefits relating to cardio-metabolic health and gut health, and how people can experience these throughout the life cycle, particular later in life. Tate & Lyle’s scientists are looking forward to collaborating with APC’s team, and sharing their fiber and nutrition expertise so they can help to build the evidence base around fibers and support healthier diets.

Click to EnlargePictured in Washington DC at the announcement are Prof Fergus Shanahan, Director APC Microbiome Ireland, UCC; Mr Andrew Taylor, President, Innovation and Commercial Development, Tate and Lyle, UK; Prof Mark Ferguson, Director Science Foundation Ireland and Dr Sally Cudmore, Manager, APC Microbiome Ireland, UCC.Fiber focus
Speaking about consumer awareness and demands regarding fibers, Karnik notes that sugar reduction remains a key priority and fiber continues to play an essential role in reducing sugar in foods and beverages in response to consumer demand and calls from regulators and health authorities. 

“The food and beverage industry is using fiber more for its sugar replacement capability than its enrichment properties. However, the growing consumer awareness of fiber’s health benefits is driving demand for enriched products.” 

Tate & Lyle research has found that consumers of all ages and from all regions want to increase their fiber intake. Interestingly though, the motivation for fiber intake does differ by demographic. Innova Market Insights has listed a renewed focus on fiber as one of its top ten trends for 2019. According to a consumer survey (2018) conducted by Innova Market Insights, 44 percent of US consumers are increasing their consumption of fiber, with 33 percent of UK consumers doing so. At the same time, 21 percent average annual growth has been reported in new product launches carrying a fiber claim. 

“Younger consumers seek fiber for weight management benefits whereas older consumers tend to seek gut health benefits. They also recognize the weight management benefits such as satiety and glycemic response, which, from a public health perspective, are particularly important given the rising instances of obesity and its associated diseases, including cardio-metabolic ailments,” she notes. 

APC Microbiome Ireland 
APC Microbiome Ireland is highly specialized microbiome research. Based at University College Cork and Teagasc, APC Microbiome Ireland is ranked number one globally for research in antimicrobial and therapeutic microbes and is in the top five institutions in the world for microbiome research. The research institute has expanded the R&D capabilities of Ireland in an area of immediate relevance to the food and pharmaceutical sectors of industry.

Welcoming the announcement Professor Fergus Shanahan, Director APC Microbiome Ireland, commented: “This collaboration is an exciting opportunity for APC clinical and microbiome researchers to engage with Tate & Lyle, a global provider of ingredients and solutions for the food and beverage industries. APC’s expertise will enable Tate & Lyle to understand further the additional health benefits that its fiber portfolio offers.”

“By growing and expanding international links through partnerships and collaborations with such world-leading organizations, the SFI Research Centres are creating opportunities for innovation and global knowledge transfer. It is a tribute to our researchers in Ireland that Tate & Lyle is committing to this research partnership and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration in the future,” says Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland.

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