Functional Food and Drink - UK - September 2011
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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) defines functional foods as “one claiming to have additional benefits other than nutritional value, for example a margarine that contains a cholesterol-lowering ingredient”.
Mintel defines functional food and drinks as products which claim to have added health benefits beyond their nutritional value. They claim to have a positive, beneficial effect on the body in general, or on a particular function of the body. In addition to key ingredients, the product must also claim to have a beneficial effect on the body or body function such as: lowering cholesterol, improving the heart, aiding digestion or beauty benefits. The product also needs to be specifically scientifically formulated, fortified or enriched with the ingredients to provide the health benefits – for example, salmon that is naturally rich in omegas and claims to aid the heart is not a functional product, since the omegas were not added to the product.
For the purposes of this report, products that previously carried a health claim which has since been withdrawn in relation to the recent change in European regulations on health claims are still included in the market size and the wider discussion.
Functional food and drink products focus on particular health areas, such as:
Cardiovascular – linked to heart, blood pressure, cholesterol levels or cardiovascular system.
Bone health or prevent/treat osteoporosis (low bone mass/tissue disorder).
Digestive health – attention is given to products made with probiotics and prebiotics.
Although the functional ingredients (eg bacteria) may be naturally occurring, a certain level of scientific engineering and modification to the food takes place in order to achieve the correct levels and concentration required to deliver the optimum benefit to the consumer.
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