Future Prospects of Functional Food
Definition and Scope Food is mainly one of the necessities in life. According to (K & Editor-in-Chief:Â Â Werner Klinth, 2004), there are 3 main functions of food. The primary function; mainly to provide standard nutrient components while the secondary falls into sensory properties of a food with reference to taste, flavour, appearance and texture. However in the past three decades, a lot of attention has been paid to the ‘tertiary’ function of food, which is the functional role of food components itself by modulating physiological systems in the human body for disease prevention or health benefits. Brief History- Even from early 1940s, traces of incorporation of functional products can be seen from the fortification of cereal products with thiamine, riboflavin and niacin (Kyritsi, Tzia, & Karathanos, 2011). After that, industries such as dairy quickly picked up with the addition of Vitamin D and much later phytosterols into the milk (Laforest et al., 2007).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a change in lifestyle and habits which contributes to a change in dietary patterns have increase health related problems, especially those closely linked to the heart, liver and gastrointestinal tract. Diseases such as heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and cancer becomes a lot more common today (WHO, 2003). This is the main contributing factor to the strength of the functional food industry. Also, trends too have influence the industry considerably, with a more accepting and open attitude towards trying out food that can possibly bring in benefits to health. Other factors such as gender, age, education and demographics also play a role in influencing the willingness to purchase or consume functional food (Urala, 2007). Categories that have been studied include anticarcinogenicity, antimutagenicity, antioxidative activity and antiaging activity. Other market segments that is growing in the functional food industry also includes weight management, age related conditions, obesity, insulin insensitivity, inflammation, bone health, joint health, Vitamin B metabolism, Glucose and Protein metabolism, Cholestrol-Lipid metabolism, blood flow and blood pressure as well as brain functions. As of current, the industries active in functional properties mainly consist of the dairy, fruits and vegetables industry while future industries to focus on are the meat and herbs sector. Past Trends and Lifestyles- In general, we can say that food choices are part of a lifestyle. Lifestyles can be influenced by technological and scientific developments, such as computer technology, modern means of communication, or new means of transport. Schulze (1993) differentiates three general categories:
upper culture, whose typical features include a predilection for classical music, ‘real’ literature and French cuisine mass culture, which favors popular music, television game shows and fast food action culture, which identifies with rock music, thrillers and ethnic food.
Data and Statistics Functional food, companies take hold such as Kraft Food Inc, Dean Food Co. and Royal Friesland Foods NV, top 3 food companies incorporating functional ingredients/food into their line of business/production (Euromonitor International, 2011). From a global point of view, the biggest share market in the world falls into the Asia Pacific region with Japan grossing the highest value with market share of approximately 60% of Asia Pacific's US$15 billion fortified and functional packaged food value sales in 2005. Other countries such as Korea, Taiwan and China are also major players in the East. While in the West, USA, Germany and United Kingdom are clear leaders (Euromonitor International, 2006).
Chart 1: Retail Value Sales of Packaged Fortified/functional Food in Top 10 Markets
Source: Euromonitor International
References: Anne, S. (2007). The sustainability of functional foods. Social Science & Medicine, 64(3), 554-561. Asia Pacific - fertile soil for functional foods (2006) Euromonitor International.
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