Inulin comes from a natural source and occurs in a large variety of plants, where it plays an important biological role as reserve carbohydrate. It has been part of our daily diet for hundreds of years as you find it in many fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions and wheat. The root of the chicory plant (Chicorium intybus) is the natural source of Frutafit® inulin and Frutalose® oligofructose.
Every year, Sensus contracts local and dedicated farmers in Belgium and the Netherlands to produce and supply chicory roots. After chicory has been sown at the beginning of April, it sprouts quickly. The chicory plant only has to catch sunlight on its green leaves in order to get the chicory plant to produce inulin and store it in the roots. Chicory is a robust and efficient crop with a low nutrient need. Moreover, in the Sensus sourcing areas little to no irrigation is needed.
From September to December, the chicory roots are harvested and brought to the Sensus site in the Netherlands. During this time, the inulin is extracted from the chicory roots with just hot water and turned into Frutafit® inulin and Frutalose® oligofructose. These ingredients are successfully used both functionally and beneficially, with respect to health outcomes,in many food applications.
The full range of Sensus chicory inulin and oligofructose products qualifies as natural according to the ISO 19657:2017 guideline. About a year after ISO set a new guideline for food ingredients to be called ‘natural’, chicory root fiber is the first dietary fiber to achieve this verification. Chicory root fiber is today the only dietary fiber that is verified as natural according to ISO.