Fiber and Prebiotic Trends in the US

See how fiber and prebiotic trends are developing in the US

April 29, 2024 – Fiber and prebiotic ingredients are a mainstay within the US market, in demand by many health-conscious consumers. Here we discuss market trends, consumer insights, popular claims, and ingredient choice in the fiber market, unlocking key opportunities for brands and companies to innovate.

What are Fiber and Prebiotics?

Fiber and prebiotics are both highly beneficial for gut health. Health organizations around the world recommend daily fiber intake to improve health and reduce the risk of disease. A diet rich in fiber is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer. Classic sources of fiber include wholegrains and their fiber-rich outer bran coating, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Primary types of added fiber include soluble fibers extracted from vegetables, legumes, and fruit.

Prebiotics work in tandem with probiotics to improve gut functioning. Probiotics are bacteria that benefit the intestinal tract, and these microbes feed on prebiotic fibers. Effectively, prebiotics act as food for probiotics.

Consumer Insights

US consumers are increasingly taking more charge of their health and are aware of how the food they consume affects their wellbeing. Nearly 60% of consumers say that information about healthy food is important to them. Additionally, a similar amount say they compare labels to select the most nutritious foods.

Fiber is the second most chosen functional ingredient of interest for consumers, slightly behind protein, with two in five consumers being highly interested in fiber-providing ingredients. Additionally, one in four consumers are interested in probiotics, and two in five accept prebiotics in their food.

The perceived importance of fiber is shown to rise with age. 51% of consumers between the ages of 18-24 say that they accept fiber in their food, for 25-34 it grows to 59%, and in the 55+ demographic, 71% of consumers accept the ingredient. Regarding prebiotic trends, younger age groups tend to value them more than older age groups, especially those that are 55+.

Fiber and Prebiotic

What’s Shaping the Category?

In the US, product launches with a fiber or prebiotic claim have declined. The region has seen a 6% decrease in these product launches between 2019 and 2023. However, when measuring for each claim individually, fiber claims are driving the reduction, while prebiotic claims are on the rise. Prebiotic claims are rising substantially from their infancy in 2019.

The decline in fiber-fortified claims is mainly seen in the top category, cereals. However, it is growing in more non-traditional categories. Meat substitutes with fiber or prebiotic claims show strong growth over a five-year period, although it slowed in 2023. Meal replacement drinks with the claims lead in innovation, while carbonates drive growth.

These fiber-fortified and prebiotic ingredients are also emerging in indulgent categories, such as confectionery, ice cream, and carbonates. For example, prebiotic ingredients are increasingly used to reduce sugar in various sweet subcategories, such as dairy-based ice cream and frozen yogurt, chocolate, and gummies.

Functional carbonated beverages are becoming a major vehicle for prebiotics. Multiple brands producing prebiotic sodas are highly successful, such as Poppi, a possible acquisition target of Coca-Cola. The brand boasts a popular line of prebiotic sodas known for their emphasis on gut health and low sugar content. During Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024, their commercial titled “The Future of Soda is Now” was the most-watched ad in the big game. Another popular brand in the prebiotic soda space is Olipop. The multi-million-dollar brand provides sodas with 9g of dietary fiber, and only 2 to 5g of sugar. Their natural ingredients include marshmallow root, chicory root, calendula, nopal cactus, cassava root, kudzu root, and Jerusalem artichoke.

Fiber and Prebiotic Trends: Product Positioning

Protein and gluten-free claims are common on US fiber-fortified products when compared to global products. Both source of protein, and gluten-free claims on fiber-fortified products in the US are seen around 20% more often. Additionally, lifestyle-related claims, such as GMO-free and plant-based are more common on US fiber-fortified products.

Between 2019 and 2023, vegan, plant-based, and sugar related claims have been rising in popularity on these products. Growth in sugar-related claims in specific demonstrates how companies are leveraging prebiotic ingredients as a partial replacement for sugar in various products. For instance, Cremily Pops Frozen Yogurt Dessert Bars advertises itself as providing natural prebiotics and probiotics, as well as having 0g of added sugar.

Fiber Ingredient Usage

The types of fiber ingredients driving the category are inulin, soluble corn fiber, and tapioca fiber. Tapioca fiber is emerging as a fiber ingredient for cereal and energy bar producers in the US. Tapioca fibers and inulin improve the texture of bars and aid in sugar reduction in products.

Soluble corn fiber is growing in use in dairy-based ice cream and frozen yogurt. The ingredient supports fat and sugar reduction and provides a creamy mouthfeel to lower fat frozen yogurt.

What’s Next in Fiber and Prebiotic Trends in the US?

Fiber is important to US consumers, and prebiotics are helping to drive fiber into the future. However, there is a generational split in interest; fiber appeals to older consumers, while prebiotics capture the interest of younger consumers. There is an opportunity for brands to step up their storytelling and marketing of fiber and prebiotics, to motivate purchases from consumers of all ages. Prebiotics may need to be described as functional fibers to drive more interest in older consumers. Younger consumers may also become more interested in prebiotics as they age and have health concerns.

New natural-natural sounding fibers emerge every year. The natural-sounding fibers that are on trend globally, namely pea fiber, citrus fiber, and acacia fiber, are gaining use because of their accessibility and functionality. Smaller share fibers can play up their desirable benefits, such as upcycling, while promoting functionality beyond increasing fiber.

Beverages are emerging as important categories for fiber and prebiotics. Brands can leverage prebiotics’ benefits beyond just fiber – including texture, fat replacement, and sweetness – to add value in functional beverages such as electrolyte drinks and drink packets, kombucha, and seltzer. The use of prebiotics can also broaden the spectrum of health benefits to include highly desirable sugar reduction.


This article is based on our insider report, “Now & Next for Fiber & Prebiotic – US.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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