Innovative and healthier snacks with beta-glucans

Plant-based beta-glucans can add dietary fibre and heart health benefits to successful snacks with approved health claims, explains Beneo. 

Image supplied: Shutterstock

The vast majority of consumers (82%) around the world recognise the link between “heart health” and their overall health.1 Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Choosing to eat whole grains and fibre as part of a healthy diet, can lower the risk of CHD. Including such ingredients in your product offering and stating their health claims are an effective way to help consumers make better nutritional choices.  

Incorporating beta-glucans from barley into recipes is an easy and affordable way to achieve this. Barley beta-glucans are viscous, soluble, fermentable dietary fibres with scientifically proven benefits for heart health, while also allowing for fibre enrichment and corresponding claims. 

Beta-glucans generate a high viscosity, which makes the food thicker and slows its passage through the gastro-intestinal tract. This delays the uptake of glucose from food, lowering the blood glucose response.2 In addition, the high viscosity lowers the uptake of bile acids and thereby reduces blood cholesterol concentration3, helping to cut the risk of coronary heart disease. 

Beta-glucans health effects

When it comes to snacks enriched with these functional ingredients, there are benefits for producers, as well as for consumers. There are more than 120 scientific studies demonstrating the health effects of beta-glucans from cereals, and official bodies including EFSA, the FDA and Health Canada have approved corresponding health claims.4  

As a leading producer of functional ingredients, BENEO offers barley beta-glucans in the form of Orafti® β-Fit, a clean label, non-GMO, vegan-friendly wholegrain barley flour with a beta-glucan content of 20% on dry matter. Orafti® β-Fit is available at an affordable price and can be used in a wide variety of snacks, including baked goods like muffins, cookies, cakes and biscuits as well as extruded cereals. It can also serve as a clean label texturiser – for example in dairy and dairy alternatives. 

The BENEO-Technology Center developed, for example, a recipe for multigrain cookies with beta-glucans that can carry high fibre and EU health claims, like “Barley beta-glucan has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease”. This claim can be used for foods that provide at least 1 g of barley beta-glucan per quantified portion, which can be easily fulfilled with the cookie recipe. The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 3 g barley beta-glucan. The cookies also have a great taste and a crunchy texture. 

Adding Orafti® β-Fit to a meal is a way to deliver fibre enrichment to consumers daily diet. As such, it can support people’s ambition to increase their fibre intake for an overall improved digestive wellbeing. Dependent on the amount of Orafti® β-Fit included in your product, on-pack messages can range between “source of fibre”, “high fibre” or “increased fibre”. Communicating on “wholegrain” is another way to draw consumer attention. 

Savannah Fine Chemicals

Digital issue View Archive

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: