Changing Worlds

Infographic: Awareness of (prebiotic) fibers and a healthy gut

For years there is long-held attention around the intake and health benefits of fibers. However, most US consumers fall short in actually including enough fiber in their diets. A gap persists between the recommended daily intake of fiber and the actual intake.

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Chicory root fiber snack bars increase number of bifidobacteria in gut

Despite the current dietary fiber recommendations, there is a substantial shortfall in fiber consumption in developed countries called the dietary “fiber gap”. The addition of fiber into snack foods may favorably impact the gut microbiome and help individuals reach the recommended levels. Therefore, a human study was performed to examine the effect of low and moderate dose fiber-containing snack bars comprising mainly chicory root fiber, on gut microbiota composition using modern technologies in adults with low dietary fiber intake.

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Role of microbiome in personalized nutrition

An interesting opportunity arising around the gut microbiome is personalized nutrition. More and more research is being conducted on the microbiome and its interplay with nutrition, diets and disease. Globally there is a high prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. There are many guidelines and advices published to try to decrease the prevalence of these diseases. However, to date they have not been efficiently controlled suggesting the one-size-fits-all dietary advices might not be sufficient.

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Added sugar awareness with Nutrition Facts label

People look at food labels for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is the increasing added sugar awareness in the US. But whatever the reason, many consumers would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily.

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Update Project CHIC

Since 2018, Sensus participates in the EU-funded CHIC project. The objective of this project is to turn chicory into a multi-ingredient source with the use of new plant breeding techniques (NPBT’s). Besides inulin, chicory contains terpenes that give chicory its typical bitter taste. The terpenes protect the plant against fungi, bacteria and other pests. Outside the plant these terpenes are also active and research is devoted to the application as anti-inflammatory or anti-cancer components.

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Gut microbiome and human health: future perspectives

The microorganisms that live inside and on humans are known as microbiota, the genetic material of these microbiota are collectively defined as the microbiome, although both terms are used interchangeably. In recent years a tremendous interest has grown in the importance of one’s intestinal microbiota in relation to health and well-being.

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Multi year practical study of strip cropping: Nature Field

Together with Dutch agricultural cooperation CZAV and a local farmer, Cosun has started a unique experiment to determine whether profitable farming can go hand in hand with nature development. The feasibility of this called ‘strip cropping’ is being studied in a 12 hectare field in the south of the Netherlands. Cosun business groups Aviko, Sensus and Cosun Beet Company are involved in this 7-years study.

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Review on the effect of fructans, prebiotics and fibers on the human gut microbiome

Dietary fibers are acknowledged worldwide for their positive impact on health and well-being, like improved digestive health andmaintaining low blood glucose amongst others. Clearly, there is tremendous promise for prebiotics and fibers directed at the gut microbiome.

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Key Food Trends 2020

More than ever consumers want to know about the background of their food. After the first few weeks in the new decade, we can envision the influence this has on the food industry.

What will 2020 bring for the food industry? Or the other way around, what will the food industry bring for 2020? Based on several sources, exhibitions, market knowledge and our gut feelings, we have indicated five trends that are expected to be highly impactful for the food industry.

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Sensus at Food Ingredients Europe 2019

Thank you for joining us at FIE in Paris! The scent of our freshly prepared sugar reduced stroopwafels was mouth wathering and they were a bigh hit! More than 60% assumed a sugar reduction of 10-30% after tasting the stroopwafel. However, the actual sugar reduction was 36%. The visitors rated the taste of our sugar reduced stroopwafel 8.7 out og 10!

Missed us at FIE? Watch the video about Sensus chicory root fibers and current trends, filmed at our booth.

Dutch government introduces Nutri-Score

The Dutch government has announced their decision to introduce the Nutri-Score voluntarily on Dutch food packages in 2021.

The Nutri-Score is a scoring system that allows consumers to quickly assess the nutritional quality of a product so that they can compare products easily and can choose for the products with a higher nutritional quality. The Nutri-score will not be introduced in 2020, as research showed that the Nutri-Score in a majority of the cases does not meet the Dutch dietary guidelines. Therefore, adjustments in the calculation method will be made, and subsequently Nutri-Score is expected to be implemented officially around 2021 in the Netherlands.

The Nutri-Score is planned or has already been introduced in inter alia France, Belgium and Germany.

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2020 the year of inulin

New Nutrition Business presented the 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health for 2020. The analysis report gives insights into the strategies companies are following in order to connect the trends. Included in the analysis are the shifts in consumer beliefs, scientific changes, risk and opportunities. The 4 identified mega trends are Snackification, Naturally Functional, Fragmentation and Sustainability.

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Dutch people eat too little fiber, with a clear dip in the weekend

We eat too little fiber and especially on Saturdays we find it hard to consume the recommended daily intake. This is quite striking in the preliminary outcome of research by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) together with -inter alia- de Maag Lever Darm Stichting (MLDS). The research aims to unveil whether personalized food advice increases fiber intake of healthy people.

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A dive into plant-based food patterns

Plant-based is seen as the number two key trend in Food, Nutrition and Health in 2019, after digestive wellness, and plant-based food patterns are becoming more popular. Recent trends aside, plant-based diets are far more resilient and enduring than ’of the moment’.

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What is a Prebiotic?

The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) strives for scientific excellence in research and communication for probiotics and prebiotics. Sensus is a member of ISAPP.

To provide clarity on prebiotics and their health benefits ISAPP released a new video. The video gives a quick overview of prebiotics: what they are, different ways you can consume them, and their scientifically demonstrated health benefits.

Sensus supports microbiome study confirming prebiotic effect in today’s infant formulae

Today’s infant formulas are often fortified with prebiotics to better mimic properties of human milk with respect to its effect on intestinal microbiota composition and function.

Recent research used the latest high throughput sequencing technologies to investigate the differences in microbiota composition between infants receiving either breastmilk, current commercial infant formulas fortified with prebiotics, or mixed feeding. In addition there was a comparison made to infant formulas from 2002-2003 with no prebiotics.

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Vezel-UP: research into advisory forms to increase fiber intake

Currently people do not consume enough fibers. It turns out to be difficult to increase the fiber intake of large groups of people for a longer period of time. The purpose of the Vezel-UP study is to increase fiber intake of healthy people by means of nutritional advice.

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Chicory Root Fiber: the natural choice

There is a need for increasing fiber content in food while keeping taste and convenience up to consumer’s expectations. Inulin is a natural occurring, versatile dietary fiber optimal as sugar and fat replacer. Moreover, it is fully fermented in the gut which is proven to be beneficial for human health. 

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Sugar reduction, a common responsibility

Many aspects of our modern lifestyle are leading to a global epidemic of ill health. Does the food industry take enough responisibility? Various solutions to reduce the sugar content of food products are available. Chicory root fiber, also labelled as inulin, is a suitable ingredient to reduce or replace sugar. 

Read more about sugar reduction and the key role in your blood glucose level.

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Chicory root fiber for gluten-free applications

New research underscores the potential for bakers and cereals processors to vastly boost their gluten-free sales in a market hungry for innovation and value.

The Technavio report findings are the latest to predict strong growth in the global gluten-free market, with an expected CAGR of 12% by 2021. Using added-value ingredients like inulin in these applications further boosts their appeal and presents huge growth opportunities for brand owners.

>> Read the article in Backery and Snacks

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It's official: EU health claim Glycemic Response

The new health claim confirms that chicory root fiber contributes to better blood glucose management, as it supports a lower rise in blood glucose response. Scientific evidence submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by Sensus prompted the change in regulation. The new legislation was passed by the EU Commission on May 30th 2016.

Click here for the official regulation.


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EU action for less salt, sugar and fat

Making healthier foods widely available in Europe, while boosting companies’ innovative capacity and strengthening the internal market. This is the main challenge to be discussed by EU member states, food companies and NGOs at a thematic conference on improving food products. The conference is taking place in Amsterdam on 22 and 23 February 2016 and should result in a new action plan for healthier foods in the EU. Click here for the whole article.

Consumption of fiber within the elderly population

Research has shown that the health benefit of a specific product must be clear to increase consumer acceptance and purchase of these products. Additional research by Sensus provides marketers of food manufacturers with guidance on how to emphasize the health benefits of fibers and inulin without offending the elderly population.

This is based on understanding and framing messages that tap into the cognitive motivations of the segment being targeted. By applying these findings and principles, marketers can influence the purchase and consumption behaviours of older consumers when it comes to products containing fibers and inulin.

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The end of “high protein”?

According to Datamonitor Consumer’s recent global survey, younger consumers (aged 18-34) are most likely to be trying to consume "as much protein as possible,” and in turn are also the most likely to be currently concerned about constipation. Chicory based inulin and FOS can play an important role in digestive health. Read more

Subjective improvements in satiety & glucose and insulin reduction after prebiotic supplementation

Complex relationships exist between the gut microbiota and the human hosts. Emerging evidence suggests that intestinal microbiota within the colon may be involved in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The use of dietary prebiotic supplements to restore an optimal balance of intestinal microbiota can potentially benefit individuals with such disorders.

Recently a systematic review of twenty-six randomised controlled trials involving 831 participants was performed. This revealed that dietary prebiotic supplementation increased self-reported feelings of satiety in healthy adults. In addition, prebiotic supplementation also significantly reduced postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations.  Other effects were contradictory such as effects on body weight, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 concentrations and inflammatory markers were contradictory. Further large-scale interventions are required of longer duration also evaluating gut microbiota.

Source »

Kellow NJ et al. Metabolic benefits of dietary prebiotics in human subjects: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.  Br J Nutr. 2014. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513003607.

Consumer trends in weight management: Asia Pacific

Consumer trends in weight management: Asia Pacific

In 2013, 12% of global weight management retail sales was represented by Asia Pacific in the amount of US$19.56 billion. Global sales will increase to US$202 billion in 2018 and Asia Pacific will account for 13% of that. To capitalize on this market, food manufacturers should keep in mind that consumers are interested in functional ingredients that make tasty foods healthier.

Source »

Euromonitor International (2014). Consumer trends in weight management Asia Pacific: challenges and opportunities for the industry.

Use of nutrition facts panels by US consumers

Nutrition fact panel

Research by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) concluded that more than three-fourths (78%) of US consumers look at the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) on food and beverage packages. While 27% pay attention to dietary fiber in the NFP but calories (42%), far more look at sugars (42%) and fat (40%).

Another interesting conclusion was the purpose of the NFP’s; these ingredient tables on product packages are most used to decide if a product is healthy (63%), to compare two products (56%), and to decide if one should eat the product (52%).

Source »

International Food Information Council (2014). Consumer investigation into Nutrition Facts Panels and sugar labeling

WHO suggestions to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes

Prevent or delay type 2 diabetes

In 2011, 347 million people worldwide had diabetes. The World Health Organization concludes that a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Source »

European Commission acknowledges importance of nutrition on active and healthy aging

healthy ageing 250

The European Commission recently published a report about the role of nutrition in active and healthy aging.  Active and healthy aging was defined as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. 

Source »


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UK consumer perception about sugar reduction in bakery products

Infographic bakery study

‘Consumers do not expect fiber in food products to be tasty’ and ‘consumers are not willing to pay more for healthy food’ are some perceptions among food manufacturers. Sensus dug deeper into eight widely held misperceptions among food manufacturers.

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Inulin and weight management

A raised awareness of the consequences of obesity is increasingly reflected in consumer preference. Food manufacturers must address this issue by producing foods that are both tasty and cater to consumers' health concerns.

By using inulin to replace sugar and fat in a wide variety of food and beverage products, manufacturers can develop the healthy tasty foods that consumers are looking for: products with less sugar, fewer calories and more fiber. Download the fact sheet or watch the video to find out how you can make smart products for weight management.

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Naturality in sugar reduction and texture-boosting fiber

Health and naturality are in the spotlight as consumers seek foods lower in sugar. Soluble fibers, amongst others, are driving the sweeteners space, bringing a health halo to sugar-reduced foods, as well as improved mouthfeel, texture and sweetness. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with key suppliers on their toolbox of solutions to bring sugar content down, while keeping a natural, clean label and maintaining rich taste.

Click here to read more.

First year of the CHIC project

The first year of the CHIC project has passed. By now, three major project’s parts (Technology, Communication & Stakeholder Engagement and Impact assessment) are in full swing. The first genome edited chicory plantlets are growing in several laboratories, the stakeholder advisory group was established and the impact on the European Court of Justice ruling on the project and on the whole field has extensively been discussed within the consortium and with external experts.

Communication channels, such as social media accounts, are active and partners presented the CHIC project at various events for school-age children. A short, informative animation movie explaining the project was created. The first progress meeting was organised after nine months at Keygene, in Wageningen, which allowed the project members to conclude that the project is on track and that we will continue according to plan.

Source »

CHIC Project

The place of prebiotics in a healthy, balanced diet

The British Nutrition Foundation published a paper with an overview of the place of prebiotics in a healthy, balanced diet, particularly in relation to gut health. The paper also considers whether there are implications of consuming a diet low in prebiotics. Overall, there is a need to promote high‐fibre foods across the UK population as intakes currently fall well below recommendations.

Read the article 'Prebiotics - an added benefit of some fibre types'. 

Source »

British Nutrition Foundation

94-98% of Northern Ireland population does not meet recommended fiber intake

According to the results for years 5-9 of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) rolling programme for Northern Ireland a great majority (94-98%) of the population does not meet the recommended intake for fiber. The programme is a continuous cross-sectional survey, designed to assess the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population in the UK. Read the report.

Source »

Food Standards Agency


Adding Value to the Chicory Root: Industry View on the CHIC Project

Sensus participates in the CHIC project: a project for developing and using New Plant Breeding Techniques for chicory as source of dietary fiber and medicinal terpenes. The project will be using New Plant Breeding Techniques and evaluate the technological performance of these technologies, as well as the safety, environmental, regulatory, socio-economic and broader societal issues associated with them.

Colleague Matthew de Roode tells more about the involvement of Sensus in this project

Source »

Worldwide aging population

The percentage of older people (aged 60 years and over) worldwide increased from 9.2 per cent in 1990 to 11.7 per cent in 2013, and will reach 21.1 per cent by 2050. That means the number of elderly (60 plus) is expected to more than double, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050.



Source »

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013). World Population Ageing 2013. ST/ESA/SER.A/348.

Possible link between artificial sweeteners and obesity

Based on multiple experiments in mice and humans, Dr. Eran Elinav (Weizmann Institute Immunology Department - Israel) concludes that the use of artificial sweeteners to food products may contribute in the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Although non-caloric artificial sweeteners do not contain sugar, they are shown to directly affect the body’s ability to utilize glucose and consumption, and can even result in glucose intolerance. These sweeteners were found to be not absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. They change the composition and function of the gut microbiota. However, the glucose intolerance effect was not equal in all subjects, depending on the composition of the gut microbiota. In the subjects developing glucose intolerance, certain bacteria in the gut reacted to consumption of the artificial sweeteners by provoking an inflammatory response, prompting changes in the body’s ability to utilize sugar.

Source »

Top motivations for buying food products:

1. Good-tasting food
2. Good value for the price
3. A price I can afford
4. Something I know my kids will like
5. Others

Source »


Obesity is a priority health issue in the world and several studies implicated a role of our intestinal microbiota.

Recently, the gut microbiota of a large Danish population of non-obese and obese subjects was analyzed by the latest metagenomic sequencing technologies, which showed that they differed by the number of gut microbial genes or ‘gut bacterial richness’. Individuals with less gut bacterial genes, or low bacterial richness, had in general more issues with obesity-related issues and chronic inflammation comparison to those individuals with a high bacterial richness.  Those obese individuals among the lower bacterial richness group also gain more weight over time.

The researchers showed that only a few bacterial species can be used to distinguish between individuals with high and low bacterial richness, and also between lean and obese participants. In the long term continued research in this field has great potential for prognosis or treatment of subjects who may be at increased risk of progressing to more serious obesity issues.

Source »

Le Chatelier E et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature. 2013. doi: 10.1038/nature12506.

2015: key trends in functional foods & beverages

Read the article written by Julian Mellentin, CEO of New Nutrition Business and co-author of Functional Foods Revolution and The Food & Health Marketing Handbook, for insights into the trends around functional food and beverages in 2015. 

Source »

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