Fashionable Products with Inulin Show at China Market

When yogurt, herbal tea and functional drinks aim more at improving our digestive and immune functions, more and more nutrient elements are added to various beverages, including probiotics, prebiotics, vitamin, and inulin. Though put to market later than the previous ones, inulin has been widely recognized due to its powerful nutritional effect.
Mengniu Dairy(Corporation) pioneers adding inulin in its milk tablets of original taste, and specifies the ingredients on the package – fresh milk, inulin, whey protein and sweetener. Commonly, milk tablets are made by whole milk powder and semi-skimmed milk powder, added with inulin, whey protein, glucose and creamer, then seasoned with essence and vitamin, and finally processed into tablets before packaged as solid dairy products.
Origin and Features of Inulin
As reserved polysaccharides in plants, inulin, called also synanthrin or natural levan, originates from plants of 11 families of dicotyledons such as the composite family, campanulaceae family and gentianaceae family, as well as liliaceae family and gramineae family of monocotyledan. Jerusalem artichoke and endive are currently known to have the highest content of inulin.
Inulin exists in cellular plasma in colloform, freely soluble in hot water, dissolved out of the water with ethanol, and unavailable to react with iodine. As a common feature shared by levans, inulin is freely soluble into fructose amid diluted acid. Lack of inulase that can hydrolyze inulin into fructose in human and animal bodies, inulin cannot be digested by human beings.
Function of Inulin
It’s known to all that polysaccharides can improve people’s digestive function and effectively ease the constipation. With institutes exclusively set up for research of inulin as early as 2003 in the US, American researches show that inulin may contribute to mitigation of colon cancer. Cases can also be found in Japan when terminal cancer sufferers quickly restore their physical strengths by intake of inulin.
As containing water-soluble dietary fiber, a polysaccharide that cannot be digested by intestinal tract or generate energy, inulin fails to attract attention before. However, along with the rapid development of nutriology and relevant sciences, people gradually find that dietary fibers also play an important physiological role. Nowadays when dietary structure is subdivided into smaller segments and increasingly more people suffer from hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia due to larger intake of meat products, dietary fiber is gradually becoming the focus of both the academic and ordinary societies, and listed by the nutritional society as the 7th major nutrient element as equal to other 6 nutrient elements of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamin, mineral and water.
Inulin is particularly popular in Japan. Japanese scientific researchers also have made considerable efforts to study inulin and register apparent achievements. It’s found by Japanese Inulin Research Institution that intake of inulin is good for skin. Mr. Nakayama, pioneer researcher of inulin, once said, inulin can reduce pigmentation of the skin, whiten the skin and make the skin tender and glossy.
Mr. Nakayama’s daughter used to suffer from eczema, who scratches her skin all night long and leaves blood spots and a sleepless night. She first tried some medicine that took control of the secretion of hormones but generated some side effects. Then she came up with the inulin. As inulin is good for gastrointestinal cleaning that can promote the gastrointestinal motility and detoxification in the body, her eczema is finally eliminated.
Through adjustment of the gastrointestinal movement, inulin can promote the absorption of vitamin and microelements, thus invigorating the human body. In turn, the process can enhance the energetic consumption to reduce weight. On the other aspect, blood glucose will reduce by intake of inulin, thus lessening the secretion of insulin. Without glucose accumulated in the human body, people won’t gain weight. On this basis, a limited amount of exercise can help burn the fat to lose weight for people.
Applicable Scope of Inulin
According to the Investigation Report of China’s Inulin Market 2014-2018 issued by S&P Consulting, inulin has been widely used in some products. See the figure below for inulin products and their market shares as revealed by the investigation:
As a good substitute of fat, inulin can form a creamy structure when fully mixed with water. Thus, it’s regarded as a substitute of fat to provide soft taste, perfect balance and full flavor. Fibers can be used to replace fat, as much as 30%-60% of fat in spreads and cream, to increase compactness and taste of the products and steadily improve the emulsifying dispersion.
Combinable with water based systems due to good solubility, inulin is also known for being free of sediment for its abundance of soluble dietary fibers. Since seen as convenient in processing and effective to improve people’s sensory characteristics, inulin is used as ingredient of high fiber diet.
Since inulin can be utilized by probiotics in the intestinal tract, greatly reduce harmful bacteria, improve bacteria distribution in human body, and more importantly increase bifidobacteria by 5-10 times, inulin has been listed as an important factor for multiplication of bifidobacteria.
Addition of 2%-5% of inulin in the milk beverage, yogurt and liquid milk can equip the products with functions of dietary fibers and oligose, and thicken the products to present a thicker milk taste, better balanced structure and fuller flavor.
Adding inulin into baked foods can develop breads of new concept, such as prebiotics bread, fibrous white bread and fibrous gluten-free bread. Inulin can increase the stability of paste, adjust the water absorption, increase bread volume and enhance the evenness and slicing capacity of bread crumbs.
Adding 0.8%-3% of inulin in juicy drinks, functional water drinks, sports drinks, syrups and jellies can refine the taste and texture. Adding 8%-10% of inulin in milk powder, edible milk tablet, cheese, and frozen dessert can also have the said effect.
Regulatory of the Application
As the third generation of carbohydrate source after starch sugar, the FDA of the US confirmed inulin as GRAS in 2003 with an effective daily intake of 5g and recommended maximum daily intake of 15-20g. However, no quality standards related to inulin have been promulgated in China yet. Besides, inulin cannot be used in infant foods and formula milk powders. Editors of our Herbridge also notice that it’s emphasized in the instructions for inulin products not to be recommended for infant food.
Inulin is dubbed by insiders as the grain of probiotics, because all possible efforts shall be made to ensure probiotics play their vitality in the intestinal tract after intake while no efforts are needed for inulin at all. Defined as a natural probiotics, inulin can directly increase the quantity of probiotics in intestinal tract after intake. China’s health products terminal markets just start to focus on inulin and seek for development of products corresponding to health concept. Beverages, instant foods, baked foods, candies and dairy products with inulin can be found everywhere on the international market.
I. China’s Dairy 2.0 Time Started by Inulin
Herbridge regards it one of our missions to promote the application of natural, functional active ingredients in terminal health products. Through information on the label, we find the Purjoy Yogurt currently under massive promotion on shopping malls and supermarkets contains: raw milk, sugar, inulin(amount added: 1g/kg-5g/kg), starch, streptococcusthermophilus and lactobacillusbulgaricus. Although with no clue if it’s the first yogurt product added with inulin, editors of Herbridge perceive this yogurt product in white bottle and exquisite package as a combination of new health idea and elegance. Based on the innovation and function of the prescription, Junlebao Dairy will climb in the ranking of yogurt market or even the dairy product fields in my opinion.
Though there’re not too many dairy products added with plant extracts, mostly added with berry ingredients such as inulin, the gigantic Chinese market has embodied its demand. Zhang Chengwen, chairman of Chongqing Joywin Natural Products Co., Ltd., the largest producer of natural inulin that targets at the Chinese market, once proposes the concept of the 2.0 Time of Dairy Products: for dairy products, taste remains the top factor to be considered, followed by their effects. Thus, in the 1.0 Time of Dairy Products, yogurt serves as the carrier to reduce fat and glucose, added with calcium ions, phytosterols and Omega-3 to highlight their effects. Then in the 2.0 Time of Dairy Products, as natural ingredient is better concerned, better taste and texture are pursued in the product design by the enterprise. Basically, probiotics and prebiotics are chosen as common addictive to dairy products.
II. Mengniu Milk Tablet of Original Taste
Mengniu Dairy(Corporation) pioneers adding inulin in its milk tablets of original taste, and specifies the ingredients on the package – fresh milk, inulin, whey protein and sweetener. Commonly, milk tablets are made by whole milk powder and semi-skimmed milk powder, added with inulin, whey protein, glucose and creamer, then seasoned with essence and vitamin, and finally processed into tablets before packaged as solid dairy products.
Ingredients label Bone Strength Milk
Raw milk, inulin, CPP, Vitamin D(Vitamin D3), food additives(microcrystalline cellulose, Glyceryl Monostearate, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, Carrageenan, STPP, sodium hexametaphosphate and TSP)
Dietary fiber – amount of inulin added: 155mg/100ml
Sucrose content: 0
Comfortable Milk
Raw milk, fish oil extract, inulin, Vitamin E(d-α-tocopherol), food additives(Glyceryl Monostearate, Sucrose fatty acid ester, Sodium ascorbate, phospholipid, STPP and Carrageenan), and flavoring essence
Dietary fiber – amount of inulin added: 155mg/100ml
Fish oil extract(EPA content>80mg/g; DHA content>125mg/g) amount added: 26mg/100ml
Sucrose content: 0
Osteoporosis, commonly seen in the elderly, is a metabolic disorder featured by decrease of bone tissue amount in a unit volume. For the group aged above 50, 50% of the female and 20% of the male suffer from osteoporosis. Simply one time of occurrence of osteoporosis will greatly increase the risk of secondary fracture. As major component of bone and teeth, calcium can maintain bone intensity, while Vitamin D can make up and maintain the bone and promote the absorption of calcium.
Besides, as many of the elderly suffer from digestive problems, inulin functions as a dietary fiber to effectively improve the probiotics in intestinal tract and people’s digestive health. Thus, inulin is a good nutrient element to help improve digestion for the elderly.
Some large nutrition-related companies have kept an eye on the aging problem of China and made a great deal of research. Since China’s population aged 60 and above by 2020 is supposed to be 2 times more than the current population of the whole Japan, some investigation companies regard this a great opportunity for the industry of nutrition and health care.
III. Yili Nutrient Milk Powder for the Mid-aged and Elderly
According to Herbridge, Yili Group adds inulin and soybean phospholipid in their nutrient milk powder for the mid-aged and elderly. Inulin serves as a natural component to improve people’s digestive health with its dietary fiber contained. The product is introduced below as:
Specification: 400g
Place of production: China
Way of intake: mixing with boiled water
Way of storage: in cool place
Applicable group: the mid-aged and elderly
Based on physiological and nutrient demands of the mid-aged and elderly, fresh milk of good quality generated at the current day is used. In line with Intake Reference of Dietary Nutrient Elements of Chinese Residents and scientific formulas, soybean phospholipid and inulin are particularly added to present a smooth taste and pure milk fragrance.
According to the product introduction, it involves soybean phospholipid and inulin in addition to the major components of calcium elements and Vitamin D. soybean phospholipid contains a great deal of ovolecithin, an important component of brain and nervous tissue. On the other hand, water soluble dietary fiber contained in the inulin is good for intestinal health of the mid-aged and elderly.
On Chinese market, formula mild powder for the mid-aged and elderly is typically designed for osteoporosis of the said group of people for its content of calcium element and various minerals. The author also believes digestive health is a way that deserves development. Particularly according to the latest research made in the US, digestive health can ease socializing anxiety.
IV. Wanglaoji Natural Care
Previously, Wanglaoji is primarily involved in the production and sales of herbal tea powder and beverage to relieve summer heat. Recently, the author sees another product as presented by Wanglaoji, the Natural Care prebiotics functional beverage, added with inulin and dietary fiber components.
Product name: Natural Care Prebiotics Functional Beverage by Wanglaoji
Flavor: tartarian buckwheat/sticky rice
Spec: PET bottle   425ml*15/box
Major components: IMO, inulin, dietary fiber, etc.
Major functions: moisten the intestinal tract and facilitate feces excretion, health care for intestinal tract, and dual adjustment of intestinal tract
Introduction: Natural Care prebiotics functional beverage as presented by Wanglaoji is dedicated to moistening the intestinal tract, facilitating feces excretion, and health caring the intestinal tract and making dual-way adjustment of the intestinal functions, thus improving the proliferation of prebiotics in the intestinal tract, promoting the gastrointestinal movement, maintaining a balanced distribution of clusters in the intestinal tract, preventing and enhancing intestinal issues such as constipation and diarrhea, and giving a comprehensive protection to the intestinal tract. A healthy body starts from a healthy intestinal tract.
Led by Professor Meng Yuecheng from Zhejiang Gongshang University and R&D expert of China’s beverage industry, the R&D team for Wanglaoji Natural Care has been devoted to the research and development of prebiotics for over a decade and finally presented the first prebiotics functional beverage in Chinese market, Wanglaoji Natural Care prebiotics beverage to contribute to relaxing bowel and caring for intestinal tract and make bilateral adjustment of intestinal function. Compared with like products on the market, this product features safety and absence of side effect.
This product manages to shun the dairy safety issue and addresses the intestinal obstruction in essence, eliminating the physical injury brought by forceful discharge. Also, the product features simple intake and low price.
From herbal tea relieving the summer heat to prebiotics functional beverage targeting at the intestinal health, Wanglaoji has made achievement by means of innovation. Amid the overall development of the global beverage industry and the fierce competition, innovation and transformation become trend of the beverage industry and digestive and immune health become another important focus.
V. Abbott Ensure Complete Full Nutrient Formula Milk Powder
Editors of Herbridge hear that the world renowned brand Abbott has added inulin in their Ensure Complete full nutrient formula milk powder.
The ingredients are listed below as:
Hydrolyzed corn starch, maltodextrin, vegetable oil(oil from sunflower, soybean and vegetable seed), casoid flour(amount: 12.47%), granulated sugar, separated soybean protein(amount: 3.7%), inulin(amount: 2.21%), FOS(amount: 2.21%), separated milk protein(amount: 1.64%), sodium citrate, TCP, flavoring essence, magnesium chloride, phospholipid, choline chloride, magnesiumhydrogenphosphate, L-ascorbic acid, sodium chloride, ascorbic palmitate, Ferric pyrophosphate, zinc sulfate, Nicotinamide, mixed tocopherol concentration, D-calciumpantothenate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, dl-α-tocopherol acetate, Pyridoxinehydrochloride, Thiaminehydrochloride, ovoflavin, VitaminAPalmitate, copper sulfate, β-carotene, folic acid, sodiummolybdate, potassium, chromium chloride, Sodiumselenate, D-biotin, Phytonadione, vitamin D3 and cyanocobalamin.
As responsible persons from Abbott tell the editors of Herbridge, this product is designed for three categories of people. Category I: people who need extra-nutrition supplemented after disease and surgery. This product contains the isolated milk protein, isolated plant protein and casoid flour, as well as 27 necessary vitamin minerals needed every day, linoleic acid, Alpha linolenic acid fatty acid, and dietary fiber.
Category II: people who eat and absorb less with poor immunity and greater vulnerability. Containing no lactose at all, Ensure Complete products are applicable to those resistant against lactose. It’s good for reducing abdominal distension and diarrhea caused by lactose. As the food and beverage industries are subdivided into smaller segments and consumers have higher demands on food, it’s very important to eliminate allergens such as glutens and lactose in the foods and beverages.
Category III: people who have poor energy, physical strength and dietary regularity. As living pressure becomes greater, work more time-consuming, office workers seldom have any time to sit and have a good meal. Their diet becomes irregular and nutrient intake turns out inadequate.
VI. Aptamil Phase 4 Milk Powder of New Zealand
It’s discovered by market observer of Herbridge that there’s inulin added in the Aptamil Phase 4 Milk Powder. See the figure below for product introduction。

This product contains prebiotics, GOS and polyfructose, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, linolenic acid and elements such as calcium, phosphate, iron, magnesium and zinc. While prebiotics help improve the immune and digestive health of infants, unsaturated fatty acid enhances the brain development, and various vitamins and minerals contribute to the metabolism, this product is generally good for infant.
As expected by Herbridge, there’re no local brands of infant milk powders added with inulin, but more and more foreign brands with inulin will flock to Chinese market. If it’s allowed by Chinese law to add inulin in infant milk powder, the application scope will further be extended.
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