Global food and beverage supplier Tate & Lyle has launched a fibre calculator to help raise awareness to the population’s ‘fibre gap’.
While the health benefits of fibre are becoming more widely known, intake remains low. New consumer research conducted by Tate & Lyle amongst UK adults, has found that more than a third (36%) of people think they are not consuming enough fibre.
The survey revealed that 32% of consumers didn’t know the UK government’s daily fibre recommendation of 30g, with 1 in 10 (12%) thinking they recommend as little as 15g a day.
However, appetite for education on the subject was high, with 87% of people keen to know if they were getting the daily recommended amount of fibre in their diet, and the majority (94%) prepared to make changes to their diet to increase their fibre intake.
The survey also found that whilst many consumers know that eating fibre helps keep bowel function regular (65%) and improves digestive health (70%) far fewer understand that getting the right amount of fibre is highly beneficial for wider health and wellbeing, including lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (40%).
We know that reaching the daily fibre recommendation is challenging, and for most people it is difficult to do so without exceeding their recommended calorie intake
The new fibre calculator tool from Tate & Lyle, created in partnership with the British Nutrition Foundation, asks the user eight questions to assess their current eating habits, before giving them an overall fibre score, and offering simple tips and personalised advice about how to increase their fibre consumption.
Dr Kavita Karnik, Global Head, Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs at Tate & Lyle, said: “We’re delighted to launch our new fibre calculator and hope the availability of a tool like this helps raise awareness amongst consumers of their ‘fibre gap’ and how to improve their daily intake of fibre."
Karnik continued: “We know that reaching the daily fibre recommendation is challenging, and for most people it is difficult to do so without exceeding their recommended calorie intake. This is where reformulation of everyday products like cereal bars, yoghurt, and sports drinks,can be really effective in improving nutritional intakes.”
The research also uncovered opportunities for food and drink manufacturers to provide more information to consumers on the amount of fibre in their products to prompt them to make healthier choices in the supermarket. 60% of people are interested in eating more foods fortified with fibre, but only 1 in 10 (11%) consider the fibre content of food when doing their food shop currently.
Stereotypes around fibre still exist, with consumers associating the words bland (10%) and stodgy (9%) with fibre. However, there are plenty of simple, tasty and everyday swaps, including swapping white rice for brown rice, adding lots of vegetables and pulses to pasta sauces and eating potatoes in their skins.
Sara Stanner, Science Director at the British Nutrition Foundation added: “We know that many people need to eat more fibre to support better health, but often awareness around how to improve diets is lacking and healthy behaviour change is challenging. This is why a tool like this new fibre calculator can be so helpful in raising awareness and educating people on how they can improve their diets and overall health.”
Tate & Lyle has launched this calculator as part of their Gut Health Campaign, which aims to raise consumer understanding of the benefits of fibre.