Today’s definition of a healthy diet is a far cry from the calorie counting culture we experienced back in the 1980s. Achieving a holistic balance of mind and body in today’s world is defined by personalized nutrition, functional foods, and preventative health. Functional foods, including prebiotic fibers, are gaining more attention for their positive role in digestive health and hunger suppression.

While the benefits of using fiber for digestive health has been well documented, there’s a growing interest around its use as a fat-blocker and hunger suppressant. Some of the world’s leading food and drink companies are taking note of the growing consumer interest around fiber’s multi-layered benefits, launching new products to meet the demand. Fiber water, for example, is one of the latest trends making its way onto shelves across the globe. According to Mintel, “Worldwide, water featuring the high/added fiber claim grew 250% in the 12 months to October 2018.”

Some fiber water brands are positioning their product as a mealtime beverage aimed at controlling fat absorption. Coca-Cola Plus, marketed out of Coca-Cola Japan, contains 5g of indigestible dextrin (a source of dietary fiber). According to a press release, Coca-Cola asserts, “Drinking one Coca-Cola Plus per day with food will help suppress fat absorption and help moderate the levels of triglycerides in the blood after eating.” In the U.S., Hellowater provides 5g of soluble fiber per bottle, advertising their no-sugar beverage as a “high source of fiber that may aid in curbing appetite and promoting a healthy gut.”

Innovative products like fiber water are poised to tap a market eager for fiber’s health benefits. Mintel states, “In the U.S., 40% of adults looking to lose weight say, ‘high fiber’ is an important claim when purchasing food and drink.” Furthermore, “In China, 37% of parents are interested in children’s food and drink with a ‘rich in dietary fiber’ claim.”

It seems the sky is the limit as to how brands can incorporate functional ingredients like fiber into their food and drink products as we move towards a more holistic approach to our health and well being.