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Functional food

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A functional food is a food claimed to have 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 increased 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 the 1980s in Japan, 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 detect.[6] Strict examination of some of the functional food claims may discourage some companies from launching their products.[6]

Functional foods for non-human animals[edit]


Honey can contain a range of phytochemicals that may help bees to tolerate cold, resist pesticides and infections, heal wounds, and possibly live longer. Given floral diversity in their pollen sources, bees may have the ability to choose nectar varieties that have positive attributes for health.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ What are Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals? Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Archived June 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  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.
  7. ^ Berenbaum, May R.; Calla, Bernarda (7 January 2021). "Honey as a functional food for Apis mellifera". Annual Review of Entomology. 66 (1): 185–208. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-040320-074933. ISSN 0066-4170. Retrieved 10 December 2021.

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