High obesity, diabetes rates in Mexico push consumers to better-for-you and cleaner products

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

High obesity, diabetes in Mexico create demand for healthier products

Related tags Nutrition

High rates of obesity and diabetes in Mexico has consumers looking for healthier options that do not compromise on a taste – a difficult combination that is nonetheless within reach for manufacturers thanks to innovative ingredients showcased at the Food Technology Summit & Expo in Mexico.

Mexico has the second highest rates of diabetes and obesity in the world, with an estimated 11.5 million registered diabetics and 15.8% showing a prevalence for diabetes, according to data from the International Diabetes Federation cited by ingredient supplier BENEO. Likewise, approximately a third of the country’s adults are obese and more than 40% do not reach the minimum recommendation for 30 minutes of exercise a day, according to ingredient supplier Naturex.

While these are grim statistics, both companies along with Archer Daniels Midland Company and Tate & Lyle demonstrated at FTS & Expo solutions that could help improve the health profile of foods and beverages.

At the expo, BENEO lifted up its chicory root fibers and functional carbohydrates as ingredients that can combat both diseases by supporting weight management and lowering blood glucose rise and insulin release better than some competing sugar replacement ingredients.

It explains in a release that while oligo- or polysaccharides, such as matlodextrin, can reduce sugar, they can still negatively impact consumers’ metabolism so that “over time, the human blood glucose regulation system can become imbalanced, leading to pre-diabetes and diabetes, accompanied by overweight conditions.”

The company’s sweet tasting chicory root fiber and functional carbohydrates, on the other hand, can help lower blood glucose responses, while still “delivering the sugar-like indulgence that consumers expect,”​ according to the release.

Archer Daniels Midland Company also offered at FTS & Expo its Fibersol and SweetRight Stevia ingredients as sweetening solutions that companies can use to reduce sugar while maintaining the flavor that consumers want.

Tate & Lyle also showcased stevia glycosides as sugar-reduction tools, including its INTESSE stevia extract, which the company says has sugar-like properties, and its “cost-competitive”​ Optimizer Stevia series. These build on Tate & Lyle’s introduction to Mexico last year of its sugar replacement DOLCIA PRIMA Alulosa.

Tate & Lyle also showed off its diverse fibers and texturizers in several prototypes that could be mimicked as reduced fat alterantives to existing products on the market. These included a creamy yogurt and a cookie with a “satisfying mouthfeel,”​ according to the company.

BENEO’s Orafti Inulin chicory root fiber also can form “fat-like granules in water-containing systems under high shear,”​ to help reduce fat in products without altering its texture, mouthfeel or taste, the company said.

Bold, natural flavors preserve consumer experience

To further preserve the taste and experience that consumers expect, while also meeting their demand for cleaner labels and healthier products, Naturex showcased at the Expo botanical ingredients that it said add functional benefits and can also create the popular full flavors that consumers want.

For example, Naturex called out its water-soluble extracts of rose, elderberry, chamomile, panax ginsing and yerba mate as particularly well-suited for the market.

ADM’s plant-based extracts are another option, as illustrated by the company’s tropical mango drink which it served at the show and said was “packed with flavor and natural antioxidants and no added sugars.”

Since the visual appeal of a product is as important as the taste, Naturex also offers many natural colors – including its Naturex Vegabrite spirulina extract which creates a bold blue color that is otherwise difficult to find in nature.

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