BENEO has added organic chicory root fiber and organic waxy rice starch to its portfolio of ingredients.

Kyle Krause, project manager for BENEO’s functional carbohydrates and functional fibers, said the company has always been a strong supplier of chicory root fiber, which is a prebiotic that can be used both for sugar reduction and fiber enrichment.

Adding an organic variety — Orafti Organic — made sense, Krause said, since it’s already natural and plant-based. Consumers are also increasingly interested in organic products, including candy.

“Organic was adding on another benefit to what chicory fiber already does in confections,” he said.

Krause noted Orafti Organic was at least a year in the making, between switching from conventional farming practices to organic ones and through developing the product. BENEO can match the ingredient format to the application, he adds.

“It’s a soluble fiber, so it can be used in confections very easily, as opposed to some insoluble fibers where you might get some textures that are really unwanted in confections,” Krause said.

Chicory root fiber is high in inulin, which is considered a proven prebiotic by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). It has many digestive health benefits, including promoting growth of “good” intestinal bacteria.

And at 2 calories per gram, it can add sweetness while reducing the overall calorie count. Orafti Organic became available to manufacturers in September.

As for the waxy rice starch, introducing an organic option  — Remyline O AX DR — rounded out BENEO’s portfolio of rice starches and offers a textural solution, said Steven Gumeny, regional product manager.

“Consumers, whether they’re buying organic or not, really demand great textures,” he said.

While waxy rice starch doesn’t offer the most benefit for confectionery, it does provide delicate texture and neutral taste and color in other applications. However, rice starch can be used in clean-label coatings, which is ideal as manufacturers continue to develop products to support health and nutrition.

“Consumers really have wellness and health at the front of their minds today more than ever,” Gumeny said. “We definitely think the current global situation we’re in is going to only make those priorities even more important in the minds of the consumers.”

Remyline O AX DR became available to BENEO’s customers in July.