Functional food

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A functional food is a food given an additional function (often one related to health-promotion or disease prevention) by adding new ingredients or more of existing ingredients.[1] The term may also apply to traits purposely bred into existing edible plants, such as purple or gold potatoes having enriched anthocyanin or carotenoid contents, respectively.[2] Functional foods may be "designed to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions, and may be similar in appearance to conventional food and consumed as part of a regular diet".[3]

The term was first used in Japan in the 1980s where there is a government approval process for functional foods called Foods for Specified Health Use (FOSHU).[4]


The functional food industry, consisting of food, beverage and supplement sectors, is one of the several areas of the food industry that is experiencing fast growth in recent years.[5] It is estimated that the global market of functional food industry will reach 176.7 billion in 2013 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%. Specifically, the functional food sector will experience 6.9% CAGR, the supplement sector will rise by 3.8% and the functional beverage sector will be the fastest growing segment with 10.8% CAGR.[5] This kind of growth is fueled not only by industrial innovation and development of new products that satisfy the demand of health conscious consumers but also by health claims covering a wide range of health issues.[6] Yet, consumer skepticism persists mainly because benefits associated with consuming the products may be difficult to be detected.[6] Strict examination of some of the functional food claims may discourage some companies from launching their products.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ What are Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals? Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Archived June 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  2. ^ "Delicious, Nutritious, and a Colorful Dish for the Holidays!". US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, AgResearch Magazine. November 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Basics about Functional Food" (PDF). US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. July 2010. 
  4. ^ "FOSHU, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japan". Government of Japan. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, W. "Benefiting Beverages." Prepared Foods August 2009
  6. ^ a b c Scholan, I. "Functional Beverages-- where next? Innovation in functional beverages market is set to continue." International Food Ingredients December 2007.

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